Isis: Archetype of Love and Devotion
By Esoteric Embers (2013)
Isis in Astrology
- Isis associations: unity, love, loyalty, devotion, sustaining, synthesizing, reassembling, resurrection, alchemy, soul retrieval, healing of fragmentation, finding wholeness of Self through union with other, kundalini, sex magic, mother of inner divinity, wholeness, and mourning protector of the dead.
- The house and sign placement of the Isis asteroid in our birth chart, along with its aspects to other celestial bodies, shows us an area of life where we can synthesize love and wisdom from our experiences in life, open our hearts and radiate love in the world, and become devoted to a personal cause or passion. It also can be an area of our life where we have soul wounds or fragmented parts of our psyche in need of resurrection and healing: her placement shows a point of focus where we can synthesize and reassemble ourselves to become more whole, as well as help retrieve and heal the fragmentation of others.
- Isis has an archetypal affinity with Virgo in astrology, and integrates Pisces through the polarity.
- The Isis asteroid was discovered on May 23, 1856 in Oxford, United Kingdom.
- There was a grand Air trine in the chart with Chiron in Aquarius at 6 degrees, the Sun at 3 degrees Gemini, and Mars at 4 degrees Libra.
- Neptune was in Pisces at 21 degrees in sextile to Venus conjunct Uranus in Taurus (Venus at 18 degrees and Uranus at 22 degrees). According to one estimated time of discovery I saw, Pisces Neptune would also be in sextile to the Moon in Capricorn, which in turn would be trine to Venus-Uranus in Taurus.
- Jupiter was in Aries opposite to Mars in Libra at 4 degrees.
- Mercury was in balsamic conjunction to Saturn in Gemini, at 26 and 30 degrees.
- Pluto was in Taurus at 5 degrees in square to Chiron in Aquarius.
- The Moon was in Capricorn and depending upon the estimated time of discovery, may have been square its own nodal axis with the North Node at 24 degrees Aries and the South Node at 24 degrees Libra.
Isis in astrology is the synthesizer and the server of love and devotion. She is the connection between everything in our world, no matter how disparate on the surface: Isis is Love, the quality of our consciousness that proves we are all connected, just like the stars above us, the minerals of our Earth below us, and our neurons and other cells inside us. It is through love that we can feel the emotions of loved ones in lands at great distance away from us, through love that we can sense communication from loved ones who are no longer in a body and are now in the astral realm or heaven, however you want to describe it. There is an Isis asteroid you can find in your chart through searching for asteroid #42, and it currently is going through a significant transit of being conjunct both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.
Isis weaves the web of love through times of trauma and dismemberment of our parts, our physical body parts and our etheric soul fragments, in order to bring about an eventual healing and retrieval of our full Self. In the United States, we are in the midst of a tragedy of dismembered limbs through a bomb explosion in Boston that has opened our hearts on a collective level at this time. We can feel the presence of Isis through this tragedy if our heart opens with compassion for the victims and loved ones of the victims, as well as the rest of humanity around our planet for whom the terrors of sudden explosions is a more regular occurrence. It is this heart opening we can experience in times of collective trauma that can shatter the crystallized emotional patterns that may have been repressing our expression of love in the world around us- if only for a temporary moment. It is up to us to sustain this heart opening and continue to radiate love around us, and Isis is an archetypal figures who embodies the resurrection of our love and devotion. The Isis asteroid being conjunct both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces during this past week of incredibly traumatic events here in the United States reflects the intensity of the times and the need for healing.
Isis is the embodiment of loyalty and faith. Isis is magic. In ancient myth, Isis gained power over Ra through learning his secret name, and this mythic detail reflects the ancient use of Isis in magical rituals and the use of hidden names in magic spells. Similarly, Alan Oken and others have written about Isis having two forms: a veiled, and an unveiled. In the veiled, she is more attached to the illusion of emotion and desire in the astral realm, while in the unveiled she has knowledge of the hidden truth. This means in her “veiled” form, she reflects the potential to become overly influenced by our emotional reactions to events, causing our perception of life to be guided more by past emotional imprints and wounds- such as a difficult childhood leading us to automatically mistrust. As a result we really are not perceiving events and people accurately, and the truth indeed remains “hidden.” It is through awareness of how we have been conditioned and imprinted by external influences on our Personality, and through heart opening connect more with our Soul at our center, that we can access the more positive qualities that Isis represents.
Isis is the daughter of Geb (Earth God) and Nut (Night Goddess) so is truly the daughter of Night and darkness. Madame Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled called her a “symbol of nature” (p.7), and Thom Cavalli in Embodying Osiris described her mercy toward Set, the murderer of her beloved Osiris, as a reflection of “her role as Mother Nature [in which] she allows all things, whether they stimulate growth or bring decay, to exist” (p.250). Isis, like the other great Goddesses and Great Mothers of myth, is compelling in part because of how whole she is in depiction: she is not all idealized perfect transcendent goodness, but instead is equal part shadow. Indeed, it is because of her shadow that she is able to achieve true transcendence that integrates the higher and lower parts of Self, transcending through inclusion and integration. Marie Louis von Franz is one of many explorers of the psyche who have written about the numinous quality of Isis:
She always does what has to be done. She does the negative thing in order to dissolve consciousness, then the positive thing in order to bring forth the process of individuation. As the destructive and at the same time redeeming Great Mother she is everywhere. She is the feminine principle which furthers the inner transformation.
–Marie Louise von Franz (p. 204), The Golden Ass of Apuleius: The Liberation of the Feminine in Man
Isis was the eldest of four siblings of Nut and Geb, siblings who cultivated great intrigue amongst themselves. The four siblings not only married one another, but became involved in distorted love triangles: Isis married her brother Osiris, her sister Nephthys married her brother Set, and in some versions her sister Nephthys seduces Osiris through disguising herself as Isis and becomes impregnated with his offspring Annubis, prompting her brother Set to trap Osiris into a coffin and send him down the Nile River. After Isis manages to find Osiris, an angry Set then murders Osiris, and dismembers his body into 14 pieces. Isis then transforms herself into a bird, specifically a kite, and searches for the missing 14 dismembered pieces of the body of Osiris, retrieving all of them save one. Unable to find his phallus, in one version of the myth it is found by Thoth inside a fish in the Nile River.
After gathering the dismembered pieces of Osiris together, Isis resurrects Osiris through magic, and in the reanimation, makes love to him and becomes impregnated with the divine Horus. Thom Cavalli in Embodying Osiris interprets the inability of Isis to find the penis of Osiris through the Jungian perspective that “her search for her husband and gathering up of his body represents her need to incorporate her own masculine self, the animus, in order to achieve union and wholeness” (p.141). Since Thoth is connected to the Mercury archetype, Cavalli also notes that his acting as an intermediary for Isis “is very alchemical since mercury, friend to all metals, acts as a catalyst in joining ‘unsociable’ substances” (p. 141). This use of Thoth, a Mercury figure, in the myth by Isis goes along with her association with the sign of Virgo, ruled by Mercury in mundane astrology.
In her search for Osiris, Isis undergoes some trials which mirror the myth of Ceres/Demeter in her search for Persephone, such as being taken into a palace disguised as an old woman in order to take care of a royal infant. Just as Demeter, taken in by the King and Queen of Eleusis, attempts to make their son immortal by holding him in a fire, Isis also attempts to make the son of her royal hosts immortal by placing him in a fire. When the Queen interferes with the magical process of Isis, Isis just like Demeter becomes infuriated with her host Queen for preventing the transformation of the child into a divine being. This parallel to Demeter is another of the many reasons why Isis has become associated with the sign of Virgo. Indeed, ancient writers such as Apuleius in the 2nd century CE described Isis as having a manifestation as the goddess Ceres, and a title of “Caelestis” or “Celestial” developed linking several godesses such as Isis with a supreme Heavenly Goddess that was also connected to the constellation of Virgo¹.
The trauma that both Ceres and Isis experience in their search for their lost beloved ones has a resonance with Virgo through the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm of Virgo integrating and accessing its polarity of Pisces through crises. It sometimes takes the gut wrenching shattering of our hearts through trauma or cataclysmic events to open up parts of our Soul or Self that we have locked up tightly in frozen emotional holding patterns. Through the heart opening from tragedy, we can in the end more fully connect with Spirit (Pisces) in the moment, integrating God or Goddess into our daily life and work (Virgo). This is the higher potential we can find in the disturbing times we find ourselves in today, with mass explosions dominating our current events.
The archetype of Isis can help us reassemble ourselves into a more authentic whole as a result of reliving traumatic events or having our hearts opened through compassionate witnessing of the pain of others- we can retrieve fragmented parts of our psyche we had previously repressed due to the pain they carry, so that even though the experience can be incredibly terrifying, we can ultimately achieve greater strength and wholeness from having gone through it, and reintegrating parts of ourselves we had previously lost. In this way Isis reflects our ability to synthesize knowledge from even our most difficult experiences in order to expand our consciousness and connect more strongly with our core Self and sense of connection with Spirit / Source / Goddess / God.