Ritual for Isis

Jeremy J. Baer

Items needed:   statues or images of Isis, Osiris, Thoth, Anubis and Horus.  Several candles or tea lights.  A scented candle or incense and burner.  A vessel for cold water.

Note: Hennu as discussed here means ritual prostration before the image of the gods as a sign of respect.   In Egyptian style this would mean bowing to the gods and holding one’s hand to one’s heart, then displaying the open hand to the deities.  In Greek style it means kissing the back of one’s hand and then displaying the hand to the gods.  Pick which version works for you.

This ritual is designed to combine 3 broad strands:  an opening invocation to the deities of the cult of Isis, based on Egyptian nomenclature; a hymn to Isis retelling the highlights of the death and resurrection of Osiris, composed in a manner similar to a Homeric hymn to a Hellenic god; and an invocation of Isis that is based on passages in The Golden Ass where Lucius addresses Isis.

Before the ritual, be sure to bathe.  Conduct the ritual in clean clothes.  Have the altar set up correctly before the ritual begins.

This ritual can be conducted at any time, but would work best during a full moon.

Opening Invocation

[light main candle]

[hennu to statue of Anubis]

Lord of the Sacred Land, Prince of the Divine Court, Chief of the Holy Dwelling, Chief Over the Mysteries of Those in the Underworld, Guide of Souls Over the Long Road.  I come to you, O’ Anubis, seeking purity and guidance.   Accept this offering, Opener of the Ways!

[light tea light or candle]

[hennu to statue of Thoth]

He Who is like the Ibis, Scribe of Ma’at in the Company of the Gods, Lord of Divine Words, He Who Reckons the Heavens, the Pacifier of the Gods.   I come to you, O’ Thoth, seeking wisdom and justice.  Accept this offering, O’ God of Scribes.

[light tea light or candle]

[hennu to statue of  Horus]

The Avenger, Lord of the Two Lands, Son of Isis and Osiris, He Who Contends With Seth,  He Who Sits Righteously on the Throne.  I come to you. O Harpokrates, seeking strength and purpose.   Accept this offering, O’ God of Royal Power!

[hennu to statue of Osiris]

Lord of All, Sovereign Over the Land of Silence, Lord of the Underworld, He Who Resides in the House of Conception, Lord of Ma’at.   I come to you, O’ Osirs, seeking peace and plenty. Accept this offering,  Greatest of the Great, Lord of Lords.

[light tea light or candle]

[hennu to statue of Isis]

Queen of Heaven, Mother of the Gods, The One Who is All, Great Lady of Magic, Mistress of the House of Life. I come to you, O’ Isis, seeking protection and solace. Accept this offering, Lady of the Words of Power.

[light tea light or candle]

Hymn to the Gods

Sing, Muses, of the terrible suffering of Isis.  Sing of the death of Osiris and his resurrection to the world below.  Sing of the love and magic of the great goddess who fills the world with light.

Fourteen years Osiris ruled as first king of Egypt. Agriculture and laws he gave to mankind.  He taught men how to honor the gods.

Then jealous Seth murdered him.  The corpse of the mighty god was sealed in a coffin and floated to Byblos.  And Isis wailed.   She lost her brother-husband whom she had loved from the womb.    Isis sailed the seas and retrieved the coffin; a great tree had grown around it.

When the moon was full, Seth hunted.  Coming upon the body of Osiris, he dismembered it.   The pieces of Osiris were scattered  afar.

Isis led Thoth and Anubis in a great search.   They restored Osiris. Through their magic the first mummy arose.   Osiris lived again to rule Amenti, eternal judge of the dead!    And the virtuous drink cool water at his throne.  They never want for beer and bread.

And Isis conceived her son Horus, a champion for her father.   For eighty years Horus fought Seth for the throne.  At last he was victorious.

And so hail to you, Lady Isis, Queen of Heaven.    Now I will remember you and another song too.

[light scented votive candle or incense]

Prayer to Isis *

“O’ holy, perennial savior of the human race, you are ever generous in your care for mortals, and you bestow a mother’s sweet affection upon wretched people in misfortune.  No day, no period of sleep, no trivial moment hastens by which is not endowed with your kind deeds. You do not refrain from protecting mortals on sea and land, or from extending your saving hand to disperse the storms of life.  With that hand you even wind back the threads of the Fates, however irretrievably twisted.  You appease the storms raised by Fortune, and restrain the harmful courses of the stars.

‘The gods above cultivate you, the spirits below court you.   You rotate the world, lend the sun its light, govern the universe, crush Tartarus beneath your heel.  The stars are accountable to you, the seasons return at your behest, the deities rejoice before you, the elements serve you.  At your nod breezes blow, clouds nurture the earth, seeds sprout, and buds swell.  The birds coursing through the sky, the beats wandering on the mountains, the snakes lurking in the undergrowth, the monsters that swim in the deep all tremble at your majesty.

“But my talent is too puny to sing your praises, and my patrimony too meagre to offer you sacrificial victims; I have neither the richness of speech, nor a thousand mouths and as many tongues, nor an endless and uninhibited flow of words to express my feelings about your majesty.  Therefore I shall be sure to perform the one thing that a pious but poor person can do: I shall preserve your divine countenance and your most holy godhead in the recess of my heart, and there I shall for ever guard it and gaze on it with the eyes of the mind.”

[pour cool water into vessel]

[insert personal prayers to the goddess]

May the blessings of the gods descend upon me.  May the blessed gods watch over me while I follow Ma’at and hold dear the name of Isis.

[blow out main candle]

* Prayer to Isis taken from a passage in The Golden Ass by Apuleius.


2 Responses to Ritual for Isis

  1. Dina Jennings says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for this.

  2. Charles says:

    No candle is lit for Horus?

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