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 oldest 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.
Love and Devotion
Isis connects with Virgo in Esoteric Astrology in part through the symbolism of the Moon being the esoteric ruler of Virgo. She is a Great Mother archetype that connects with Ceres as the symbol of Virgo. She became a divine mother of Horus similar to how Mary gives birth to Jesus.
Isis integrates Pisces through polarity and in part through Esoteric Astrology, in which Pisces is ruled by Pluto and associated with the death of duality. Isis evokes unconditional love and faith that transcends, transmutes, and transforms beyond duality. She is reached on our Soul level through the death of our forms tied to duality.
2nd Ray in Esoteric Astrology (Virgo, Pisces, Gemini): The Ray of Love and Wisdom
6th Ray in Esoteric Astrology (Virgo, Pisces, Sagitarius): The Ray of Devotion and Idealism
Isis is a powerful archetype to perceive through the soul-centered lens of Esoteric Astrology. In my opinion, reflecting upon the nature of Isis as an archetype is a helpful way to synthesize the connection in Esoteric Astrology between the sign of Virgo with its esoteric ruler the Moon, and its rays of manifestation being the second and the sixth. In Soul Centered Astrology: A Key to Your Expanding Self, Alan Oken explains the link in the Ancient Wisdom teachings between Virgo and Isis:
The Ancient Wisdom Teachings tell us that the name Virgo is a corruption of an Atlantean name that was applied to the Mother Principle. Lilith, the dark moon of astrology, was the name of the last Virgin Goddess of Atlantis. There are three other names for the Virgin that we should examine, as they will reveal more about the esoteric nature of this sign: Eve, Isis, and Mary.
Eve is the symbol of the mental nature of humanity, and represents the desire for knowledge. She symbolizes the eating of “the fruit of the tree,” or the information gained by the Soul from physical incarnation. Isis has two forms: veiled and unveiled. She also represents the gathering of such information, but her domain is the realm of the emotions. The veil of Isis has to do with the illusions of the astral plane, while the unveiling of the Goddess reveals the perception of hidden truth. The root of the name Mary is very ancient. It is constantly associated with water, whether it is from the Sanskrit root maya, the Hebrew mayam, or the Latin mare. Mary is the maternal matrix of form, originating in the sea. It is from the physical body of Mary that the “Heavenly Fish” was born, Jesus, the Anointed Savior of the Age of Pisces. Virgo, in her three aspects of mind, emotion, and body, represents the synthetic qualities of the Mother Principle, which is blending the proper nutrients for her unborn offspring; she is always gathering in the proper information for the growth of the Soul (p. 194).
Although Esoteric Astrology relies on an intuitive perception that is vastly different than a rationalistic science perception, the Moon being the ruler of Virgo, so that the Moon is the ruler of the sign of the Goddess, fits well with science since life on our planet and the development of humanity would not have occurred without the orbital influence of our Moon and its effect on tides and other earthly phenomenon. As a result we can feel the connection of the Moon with Virgo Goddesses such as Ceres, Mary, and Isis, and how these Mother figures on an astrological level could help us digest and synthesize our experiences in order to provide nourishment to our Soul within. In this way Isis represents the synthesizing of our emotions and desires within the archetype of Virgo and the Mother Principle, and is why she has a strong link to the second and sixth rays of Estoeric Astrology: Love and Wisdom, and Devotion and Idealism.
In Esoteric Astrology, the seven rays relate to our human ability to cultivate Soul-consciousness, self-actualize and individuate, and accept responsibility for our lives and our ability to co-create not only our own destiny, but our collective destiny. However, in order for us to develop this ability means that we need to move beyond our attachment to our ego and our Personality-focused consciousness. When we are more wrapped up inside the confines of the Personality we believe ourselves to be and perceive life through, we diminish our ability to take responsibility for our lives and make ourselves more likely to have a fatalistic feeling about the events of our lives. Alan Oken in Soul Centered Astrology makes the distinction that when we are Personality-centered, we are more attached to the “forms and effects of manifestation,” whereas a Soul-centered individual focuses on “the relationship between cause and effect” in our life:
Yet the distinction has to be made that personality-centered people- the vast majority of people in the world- identify themselves with the materialization of events and attach themselves to the forms and effects of manifestation. The Soul-centered identify themselves much more with the relationship between cause and effect, and respond to the quality aspect or consciousness inherent in manifestation . . .
The Seven Rays are the basic building energies of manifestation and are the keynotes of this relationship between cause and effect. (p.96)
I am only beginning to come to a greater comprehension of this material, but at this stage of my understanding these Wisdom teachings remind me of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness and the importance of becoming more self-aware of our thoughts, the causes and effects of our thoughts, where our thoughts take root from, how we are imprinted by past experiences, and how we cause our own suffering through perceiving events through this ego personality bonded to our past conditioning and imprinting. I have heard Alan Oken teach about the spiritual importance of the objectification of our ego, how objectifying our consciousness can help us become aware of our illusions, overcome fears, and gain the power of mind over matter in the process.
The connection between Isis and the 2nd Ray is evidently powerful as Isis has been connected with the star Sirius since ancient times, and in Esoteric Astrology the star Sirius is also connected with the 2nd Ray. Alan Oken describes “the two primary stellar vehicles for the Second Ray of Love/Wisdom” as the Sun (representing the “Heart of this Great One”) and the star Sirius (p. 97). As a result, Oken explains that all of the Seven Rays “function in our solar system through the Second Ray, making It and the quality of Its energy of Love/Wisdom the most vital to us . . . ”
Love and the Wisdom which leads and proceeds from Love are the primary qualities of consciousness in our solar system, and hence, of life here on Earth.
–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p.97
For me, visualizing the mythic figure of Isis is a helpful way to grasp some of the significance of the second ray and how Love/Wisdom connects all of life. Oken states that Virgo is the “controlling factor” and the “primary sign of the Second Ray” in part because it is not dualistic like the other signs of the Second Ray, Pisces and Gemini, but instead is “multiplistic” since as the Mother it is the “birther of all forms” (p. 108). When we face challenging events, Isis helps us integrate the Pisces polarity of Virgo through our experience, since Pluto rules Pisces in Esoteric Astrology, carrying with it a Shiva energy of destruction that can be painful, but also brings the potential to destroy our attachment to material forms. Pisces and its esoteric ruler Pluto can help us transcend the suffering our ego personalities cause us through the death of our duality perception that our personality is separate from our soul. Alan Oken teaches that when we lose attachment to form, we can use form for the purpose of our Soul. When we consider the resurrective power of Isis in her myths, she is a powerful Goddess to visualize having control of the 2nd Ray:
Love is that matrix, that Mother Force, which births those forms that house the essential spirit of Life. Love is the healing dynamic which, through its cohesivemenss, eventuates the process of evolution into greater and more highly evolved wholes. Love and the energy of the Second Ray unites, binds, and holds all of the manifestations of Creation together. (Oken, p. 107)
The fact the astrological signs related to the Second Ray are all mutable reflects their ability to find connections between everything, but at the same time it also provides the challenge for people with a strong Second Ray, since most of us perceive through personality-consciousness more so than soul-consciousness. Because the Second Ray has a universal urge for unity and embracing everything, people with a strong Second Ray can lose a sense of their own center, stability, and focus at times, becoming influenced by the people surrounding them that they are connecting with through their energy of love. In contrast, if a Second Ray person begins to emphasize the Wisdom side more so than the Love side, Alan Oken explains there is the additional challenge that they can become aloof, and “may appear indifferent to others and lacking in the compassion that is at the very heart of this Ray’s life quality” (p. 109). Isis as an archetype in our chart could fall prey to similar challenges when we are focused on the daily challenges to our personality from our environment, losing touch with our centered and loving Goddess inside.
Isis as an archetype like the Second Ray is highly magnetic in nature, and has also been linked by many to kundalini and sex magic, probably due at least in part to the section of the Osiris myth in which Isis is able to not only reanimate his corpse, but make love to him and become impregnated. In The Magdalen Manuscript by Tom Kenyon and Judy Sion, the link between Isis and sexual magic is shown through the voice of Mary Magdalene, portrayed as a High Initiate of Isis who practiced sacred sexuality with her lover, Jesus. In this manner, the sexual act becomes a way to merge and expand consciousness with one’s lover in a way that transforms our previous form:
The Sexual Magic of Isis has to do with the innate ability of the feminine being to utilize magnetic energies to open deeper levels of consciousness through the act of surrendering to the sexual energies and pathways that are opened . . .
Two Initiates engaged in the Sexual Magic of Isis can strengthen themselves and rapidly expand their consciousness through the power of this magnetic field.
—The Magdalen Manuscript, p. 37
Mary Magdalene has been linked as being some sort of High Initiate of Isis by many writers, and whether or not you believe the validity of this, what is valid is the link between discipleship and Isis. This is because to fully integrate Isis calls for a practice of discipleship, and connects to her association with the Sixth Ray, the Ray of Devotion and Idealism.
Just as Isis in the myth has an obsessive focus upon finding Osiris and making him whole again, she connects with the 6th Ray in Esoteric Astrology through her intense devotion to her ideal of healing Osiris. On the Soul level, the 6th Ray brings the “urge to transform selfish and personal motivation into selfless, impersonal devotion for the good of all,” while on the Personality level it can reflect the negative potential to become fanatic, dogmatic, and exclusive to others from a perspective of having a more enlightened belief system (Oken, p. 133). Reaching the 6th Ray on more of a soul level helps us avoid being exclusive to others, but instead “reorient the exclusive to the inclusive for the greater expression of Love/Wisdom” (Oken, p. 133). Alan Oken gives the example of Saint Francis of Assisi as a figure who was able to utilize “Spiritual Will . . . in an individualistic way for the good of the collective” (Oken, p. 131). Saint Francis is particularly interesting in this 6th Ray context, since he grew up in the time of the crusades, a 6th Ray war of fanaticism, and took part in the crusades as a young man before dissolving his identity in his process of finding his connection with God. Saint Francis became a disciple of the teachings of Jesus Christ, used Will and discipline to become a spiritual warrior focused upon being inclusive within the collective rather than exclusive. His ability to synthesize his religious beliefs with his love of nature, his openness to forming community and supporting women in taking leadership roles in his church, and his indomitable spirit that refused to back down to status quo authorities of the church, makes him a strong example of the higher use of the 6th Ray that Isis also embodies.
I believe Isis also embodies this same 6th Ray focus of the Higher Self on inclusion rather than exclusion. If we look at the mythstory and history of her transformation through myth across time, we can see that the figure of Isis continued to transform in a manner that would be more inclusive to other regions and religions of the world around her- first on a local level within Egypt, and then on a wider level beyond the boundaries of Egypt. At one point, she was depicted as the wife of the pharaoh, but eventually became merged with the goddess Hathor as she also became the mother. This is why in later depictions she has the cow horns and solar disk of Hathor on her head. In earlier depictions she often had the hieroglyphic sign for a throne on her head, since she was involved with the seat of the ruler. As the figure of Osiris became more and more important, her mythic story also shifted to incorporate him, and their story became an important mystery ritual for ages. It is also interesting that following the terror and trauma of the invasion of Alexander the Great through the region, a figure who through his conquests served to synthesize and link ancient teachings from Greece through Egypt, Babylonia, and India, Isis continued to synthesize and merge with other cultures, becoming linked with Aphrodite, Ceres/Demeter, and many other important Goddesses. Even today in modern times, Isis still is very visible and synthesizes many ancient wisdom concepts for people around the world from different backgrounds.
Therefore, we can look to the placement of the Isis asteroid #42 in our birth chart to see a place where we can synthesize love and wisdom from our experiences in life, open our hearts and express love and wisdom in the areas of life associated with its placement by house, sign, and aspects to other planets. The house, sign, and aspects of the Isis asteroid can also show us an area of life where we can become idealistic and devoted to a personal cause or passion. Since most of us are not already soul-centered individuals, however, we also must heed the warnings of challenges that personality-centered individuals face through the 2nd and 6th Ray. This same area of our birth chart involving the Isis asteroid could thus show us where we could have illusionary perceptions stemming from misguided emotions and desires, where we could potentially lose our own sense of center through finding connection with others, where we could become overly focused on developing wisdom for ourselves rather than personal connection with others, and where we could become blindly devoted to a personal cause, losing ourselves in hero worship, exclusivity, prejudice, or fanaticism.
In my personal chart, I happen to have just experienced an Isis return as I am writing this, as I have Isis in Pisces in my 10th House conjunct my Mid-heaven and my Mercury. I also have Isis square my Gemini Moon in my 12th house and the nodal axis of my Moon. Without going into personal detail, I have certainly faced my own challenges of the mutable cross associated with issues such as becoming lost in the illusions of my own emotional perceptions, but as I have grown, become more self-aware, and taken greater responsibility for myself, I have ended up in situations where I have had to synthesize my understanding in a public, 10th house manner. For example, I have been teaching about some of these same concepts with young adults who have come from traumatic backgrounds, and so I have had the opportunity to teach the same lessons I have had to learn and continue to learn, in order to help bring about healing and self-actualization for my students. In addition, just the act of researching and writing this piece about Isis for my blog, using my Mercury function to synthesize my own understanding of various research leads I have followed, has been a great catalyst to help connect me more strongly with the whole of my core Self.
Finally, we can look to the placement of Isis in our charts as a point of focus through which we can heal the fragmentation of our own soul, as well as help retrieve and heal the fragmentation of the souls of others. The bottom line of this ability sources from Love, pure and simple- the consciousness of love and an open heart that is the connective tissue between everything, including all of our own disparate mental and emotional pieces that feel like they are lost on the floor like puzzle pieces at times. I realize this makes Isis sound somewhat like Chiron in astrology, but I believe Isis functions more explicitly through love and is more about a healing of our wholeness through a death and resurrection process than Chiron. Working with Isis can involve a deep process that involves a death of current emotional or mental patterns in order to retrieve and heal our fragmented parts. In my own chart, for example, with Isis in Pisces in my 10th house conjunct my Pisces Midheaven and Pisces Mercury at the very end of my 9th House, I have ultimately become a teacher in a public role. However, I grew up incredibly shy with a speech impediment to which I responded by barely talking to anyone, and certainly never in public. One of the first ways I was able to get in touch with my voice was through my writing, using the combination of my Isis, Mercury, and Midheaven in that way, and placing myself out in public first through my writing, rather than my speaking. This experience was still intense for me, even through my writing, but ultimately I have been gradually returning to my whole self in my public speaking.
The esoteric link between the Moon and Virgo, and so between the Moon and Isis, will be highlighted this week with an intense Full Moon Lunar Eclipse on April 25, 2013. Eclipses are another example of the human ability to synthesize understanding from events: the almost incomprehensible symmetry that the size of the Moon and its orbit could create the visual effect of Eclipses on our planet helped ancient astrologers discover the nodal axis that has helped so many modern astrologers help heal fellow human beings today. As we head into the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse of April 25 this week, and an intense eclipse season of May, it will be more difficult as it always is during eclipse season to assert our own Will into the world around us from an ego-personality perspective. Hopefully, the figure of Isis can be of service to you in your ability to merge your Will with Higher Will, and connect with your Higher Self and Love consciousness. These upcoming times of the May 2013 eclipse season are likely to be intense- if we can embody the love and devotion of Isis and face whatever happens with an open heart that is open to whatever experience comes our way and whatever feelings, no matter how painful, well up from within, we can ultimately cultivate greater healing for ourselves through reassembling our emotional being into a more complete whole, synthesizing greater wisdom and an expansion of our love-consciousness in the process.
Blavatsky, Helena (1972). Isis Unveiled: Secrets of the Ancient Wisdom Tradition, Madame Blavatsky’s First Work. Abridged by Michael Gomes.
Cavalli, T. (2010) Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation. Quest.
Kenyon, T and Sion, J. (2002) The Magdalen Manuscript: The Alchemies of Horus & The Sex Magic of Isis. Orb.
Oken, Alan. (1990). Soul Centered Astrology: A Key to Your Expanding Self. Ibis.
von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1992). The Golden Ass of Apuleius: The Liberation of the Feminine in Man. Shambhala.
- ^ Plutarch, translated by Frank Cole Babbitt, Isis and Osiris, 1936, vol. 5 Loeb Classical Library
- ^ Apuleius, Metamorphoses 11.2.
29 thoughts on “Isis: Archetype of Love and Devotion”
Very interesting piece, Gray. Thank you for presenting this.
When I first came upon Isis in a chart, it felt very magical. It was in my mid-heaven directly overhead. That was in the Koch chart. Because I work with my intuition, and synchronicities, as well as symbols, I found that a very “aha” location and it showing up in my awareness there was very interesting. It got my attention.
I have recently seen that Isis is in a different location in the Placidus chart, that in that chart, it is in Pisces (also my moon) in the center of my fourth house. In the Placidus chart, it is only in the fourth house. In the Koch chart (looking closer after learning of it in the Placidus chart location), I see that it is both in my mid-heaven and in my fourth house.
Can you explain how it varies between these two charts. I would also be interested in how it can show up twice in the Koch chart.
Could you please share how you came across a symbol for Isis near your Midheaven? I just realized, prompted by your question, that there is a fixed star named Isis and you have this around 19 degrees Cancer in your 9th House, conjunct your Uranus- but not conjunct your Midheaven, more in the middle of your 9th house. I’m not sure how the interpretation of this fixed star would be different than what I am sharing here, since it is called Isis it could work in a similar way. I notice now that I have the Isis star a little later than you, more between 19 and 20 degrees Cancer, so 19 degrees Cancer must be roughly the location of this star. There could be a slightly different interpreation, as there are several Lilith celestial bodies and astrologers have developed slightly different meanings for each one, using the same general theme of the Lilith archetype.
The Isis asteroid #42 I wrote about is clearly in Pisces in your 4th House like you say- in the Koch and the Placidus and the Porphyr system too. I have never worked with the Koch house system, but it appears to be a more complicated version of Placidus and seems to be popular in the Germanic region.
I feel like the fixed star Isis would have the same general archetypal meaning as the asteroid, but there could be some variation in meaning within the commonality of the archetypal meaning. I have never noticed the existence of this star before, but it is interesting that it is in Cancer where it is, because that makes it conjunct Sirius. Since Sirius has been associated with Isis in the past, this makes a lot of sense. As I referenced in my blog, Alan Oken also describes Sirius as being one of the two primary stellar vehicles of the Second Ray- so being conjunct the star Isis, to me, means that I must actually be on the right track by linking the 2nd Ray with Isis!
So you can bring Isis into both of those areas of your chart. The meaning of each in your chart would involve a long explanation. But the fourth house is associated with Cancer and Motherhood and our early childhood experiences and our emotional undercurrents. Isis being in Pisces there, and conjunct your Pisces Moon, your Moon being in a different house of the 5th, makes Isis very prominent in your chart, and you could link the archetypal meaning of Isis to those themes. This is further supported by the Isis star being conjunct Uranus in your 9th House- also means that Sirius is also conjunct your Uranus in your 9th House. The 9th House involves travel and higher education, but overall is very much about our belief systems, and belief systems around the world. With Uranus there too it would bring up the idea of you individuating your own belief system, but with Isis there would bring in the idea of synthesizing the inclusion of various belief systems from around the world, discovering how they are connected in union, unity and the One. Does any of that make sense?
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I am -privately- sending you one of the charts that has caught my attention.
Upon further reflection, I am thinking that the fixed star Isis could possibly have a similar archetypal meaning as I wrote about, but express more of a timeless quality- and it is very fitting it is conjunct Sirius.
Now that I realize you were asking about a third Isis- a transpluto Isis- I’m not quite sure how this would come in, but it moves very very slow, but does actually move unlike the fixed star Isis which is fairly stable in comparison. I’ll have to think more about what each of these three could mean…
But I do think the Isis asteroid is important to consider on a personal level, and related more to the specific connection between our personalities and Soul, since it is a much more unique placement in our charts.
Thank you for bringing this to my attention!
Isis opens a very provocative set of considerations. Possibly different energetic focuses.
The one seems to be, as your article describes, actually a healing element and complement to the Demeter-Persephone, earth-mother-child, family, societal, more (though not all, for there is the magic phallus and it seeds and seeding purposes) earth-bound turbulences, indeed a re-membering.
The mid-heaven seems more ethereal and spiritual, more of a mother in the sky.
The timing of your article and contemplations of Isis is also very interesting.
Thank you again for your thoughts Roberta,
I am starting to sense one possible interpretation, we can see if it ends up feeling on the right track or not.
You mentioned that the transpluto Isis that is closer to your midheaven feels more ethereal like a mother in the sky- this makes me think that the transpluto Isis could have a more distinct archetypal meaning in line with the Isis integrated with Hathor- this Isis with the cow horns and solar disk. This is where she took on more of the celestial mother energy, integrating the meaning of Hathor into her symbolism.
I do feel that the Isis asteroid #42 does have a healing energy related to earth turbuluences, familial and societal issues, and is certainly about re-membering- and certainly connects with Demeter-Persephone through Isis-Osiris. Since there is also an Osiris asteroid, I am thinking the Isis asteroid could relate to what I already wrote about, but also an emphasis on the winged Isis, the Isis searching for the dismembered pieces of Osiris, the Isis focused on synthesizing, love, re-membering, re-asssembling, healing fragmentation of the psyche, soul retrieval, and wholeness. Very much about personality challenges and the return to soul connection.
And then the fixed star Isis- maybe it is more of just the general Isis archetype- I’ll have to still think about all of this more . . . but it is interesting to think about!
I have made some very rough estimations of the transpluto Isis, and what is interesting is there is a shift of signs this year- in August 2013 transpluto Isis will move into the sign of Virgo. She has been in Leo since roughly 1940- so Leo from 1940-2013. She was in Cancer from roughly 1881-1939. She was in Gemini from roughly 1839-1880.
Also, the fixed star Isis has been around 19-20 degrees of Cancer recently. In 1900 she was more like 18 degrees Cancer. In 1800 she was more like 16 degrees Cancer . . .
Food for thought. For now, I feel like I am mostly focused on developing meaning for the asteroid, though.
There is so much information in this! Where to start?! But start, I shall! I will start by looking up Pisces, so I can understand what Isis in Pisces means. Or do you have an article on that already up? Namaste.
Thank you for finding this fertile with information. I have only ever seen Isis written about in astrology a little here and there, and never in elaborated depth. So I am very open to receiving feedback and guidance relating to possible meanings of her as an astrological archetype. You are right that I did not give a very direct meaning to Isis being in Pisces. I have not written a direct post about Pisces, but I did write about Pisces here:
and here related to Pussy Riot:
For me, Isis in Pisces is very strong with both the 2nd ray of love and wisdom, and the 6th ray of devotion I wrote about in this article, and because of the “weakness” (which is also a source of its “strength”) of Pisces, I feel Pisces Isis is particularly susceptible to some of the warnings I listed above. I think in particular losing a sense of center through contact with others at times, the intent being to connect through love in some manner of connection, but then the danger of losing connection with true core center Self, unless there has already been soul-centered work done- this would be because Pisces are so sensitive and psychic, and are this way even without having any sort of spiritual discipline or discernment. However, I would say Isis in Pisces is a very powerful combination capable of being extraordinary healers and teachers, or by transit could involve synthesizing experiences and information about ultimate understanding of the above and below, of our reality but also our connection with Spirit or Source or God or Goddess. Isis brings with her some Virgo discipline and detailed technique and discernment to me, and so in Pisces she would help integrate the polarity and synthesize the Pisces psychic sensitivities into true intuition that can be of ultimate service. An individual who awakens to their true soul work with Isis in Pisces or through a transit with Isis in Pisces, I think this would connect with the strong examples of 2nd Ray and 6th Ray energy Alan Oken has written about, like Saint Francis of Assisi or how Mother Teresa went into another culture to help heal the outcast. I think Isis in Pisces brings abilities, or could be a time period with the transit, of soul retrieval and coming into contact with significant issues, events, or people related to soul retrieval and synthesizing what could have previously been fragmented aspects of soul. What do you think? I’ll stop rambling for now- I’d love to open up a larger discussion of this. with gratitude, Gray
Uhm. I could follow you until Pussy Riot. Mercy on the ignorant. Still, I do not come empty-minded.
I understand the wu wei principle of Pisces. As I recently finished yet another reading of the Tao Te Ching, I have been very alert to practising wu wei. I just did not know that it was the influence of Pisces. As I work through Auset to re-member more knowlegde and wisdom that I need on my path, the tempering through Pisces allows for balance. So, I agree that it is a powerful connection. But, it is the only connection that I now somewhat understand. As this aspect is no longer mystifying (clearly Pussy Riot still is), I can move to the next aspect. The rays. I suspect that those are the same as http://thesevenminds.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/the-seven-rays/. It is interesting, as I perceive Auset to reside in the heart chakra, and working from there down and up to the other chakras. But, that may be because of my chakra work. Self-love through the act of purification. Letting go of trauma, indoctrination, and all kinds of material and spiritual poison. I do wonder if the energy of Auset works strongest on the sacral (2nd) and third eye (6th) chakra… That would explain a few things for me. Work in progress. And progressing I shall. So, the next subject/object to look at is the connection of Auset to Sirius. That should be easy enough. And then come back to your article for the next step. So far so good.
“Fragmented aspects of soul” is a whole topic in itself. I have concluded a fragmentation of the mind into the seven minds. Seven minds connected to the seven main chakras. The complete healing of the seven minds should lead to the soul having the necessary foundation to move on: liberation. So, the way I see it, my soul is not fragmented, my mind is. And I need to use this life to heal it into getting back to the All.
That leaves me to ask you, what do you consider soul, and what is mind, do human beings have one soul or more, and what are the fragments?
Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I think I may not being careful and thinking enough about my choice of words, as I am not sure if my meaning is much different than what you wrote about the mind being fragmented. By fragmenting I mean more in the way of memories or feelings or aspects of self or soul that are operating unconsciously in an incarnation, but which before more awareness or integration occurs, the person is unaware of them- but that a remembering can occur which can ultimately make one feel more whole. Not sure if that makes any sense or not to you, or if I am describing it very well. I would say that we have one soul, not many. I’m not sure if I have thought enough to give an accurate enough description to you of what I consider mind to be exactly- but I do think our perceptions are related to our soul, and where our soul and consciousness are currently at- if there is some fragmentation, this perceptual awareness can shift with more integration, reassembling, remembering being made more conscious. However, the manner in which you are describing your process of remembering more knowledge and wisdom that you need on your path- that is basically what I mean. And when you are speaking of letting go of trauma, it is my understanding that trauma can be the source of the way I am thinking of using the word fragmentation.
Pisces I do not think automatically means wu wei, but I think that a more evolved Pisces, that is integrating the polarity of Virgo, can step more into wu wei, taking all the Pisces awareness and connecting it all more into the now and moment and acting from that. So if Isis connects with Virgo, then Isis and Pisces together could possibly be a help- but this is mere speculation on my part.
I do not think I know as much about the chakras as you do. But I do believe you are right about the 7 rays- they came into prominence as channeled material by Alice Bailey from the Tibetan Master DK- this is the same material that Alan Oken works with, who I repeatedly referenced in my post. Alan Oken is still alive and well and teaching astrology connected with this same material from the Tibetan Master.
I think the issue with my writing on Pussy Riot may be that at that time I wasn’t putting as much effort into trying to make my writing about astrology more accessible. But what I meant is that there is Pisces connection with true connection to Source or Spirit or God or Goddess that goes beyond consensus religions- it is about ultimately how all spiritual beliefs and paths connect in unity to the One and I think this may be like the many from the Tao (I am not an expert on the Tao, though).
I will think more about your comments, you have a lot to offer here.
with gratitude, Gray
Thank you for your replies. They have been of much help. There is no need of changing the wording, it is my task to check if I understand as correctly as I can, and learn more. I read and post quite a lot of theosophical texts, so I do understand some of the influence of the planets, but I have had a hard time understanding how things relate to the zodiac (and I will be moving into Tarot a bit as well, as I use the site of Symbol Reader for homework). So, I am grateful that I can now somewhat understand Auset’s connection to Virgo, and also her connection to Sirius. That the zodiac ‘opposite’ of Virgo is Pisces, which should offer a natural Yin Yang balance when they come together in people. And to see that there will be strong energy into/from the 2nd and 6th rays. Which makes healing of those chakras most opportune. And the connections to solstice and equinox.
So much more to it, but to learn this much from investigating a few paragraphs of your text has been a wonderful thing. It is very empowering to understand how to make use of universal energy to heal the chakras. Without having to understand ‘charts’, ‘houses’ and ‘moons’ and the movement of those in the zodiac. I guess that is what threw me off before. I take much better to an esoteric approach, and then slowly learn about reading charts and understanding the movements. (I just realized that I take to the chakras because they stay in place! They can get ‘blurred’ though.)
Oh, and Pussy Riot, I just take that as the advanced class. That is for the advanced students to discuss. I now move on to connecting Auset to Lilith and Sophia (or the embodiment Eve), and to understand how Venus connects to Auset, Virgo and Sirius. A third celestial body. There must be at least seven celestial bodies connected to Auset, otherwise the system is off balance. And Auset must also be present in Orion, just as Ausar is in Sirius. Hmm. I guess I am to dive into astronomy before astrology.
Much gratitude. Namaste
One last question on astrology, before I dive into the charts. In reading that the asteroid was named after the daughter of the astrolger and not the goddess Isis, does that make a difference in the reading. Or is the power of the influence in the name?
Yes, I saw this on wikipedia which must be what you are referring to: “Although Isis is the name of an Egyptian goddess, the name was chosen in homage to Pogson’s astronomer daughter, (Elizabeth) Isis Pogson.In addition, the Isis is the stretch of the River Thames that runs through Oxford.”
To me, this just strengthens this asteroid’s connection to the Goddess Isis. The fact the astronomer discovering the asteroid had named his daughter after Isis, and that the section of the Thames river in the location of its discovery is named Isis- to me, this is synchronicity in a manner that makes Isis an archetypal name for this asteroid. It reminds me of the asteroid Ceres, which was discovered in a location that had a rich history of worshiping the Godess Ceres/Demeter.
I have found a link for you in myth between Isis and the number 7. There is a story about Isis and the seven scorpions, which takes place after Isis had given birth to her son Horus and Osiris had become the ruler of the underworld. Isis was busy weaving a shroud for placing around the mummy of Osiris, with Horus in some sort of baby cradle, when Thoth appeared to her and warned that Seth was looking for both of them, and that he feared Seth would kill Isis and Horus if he found them.
Thoth advised Isis to hide in marshes north of the Nile where Seth was unfamiliar with the terrain. In order to protect Isis and Horus, Thoth left seven scorpions to guide and defend them on their journey. Three of them walked in front of Isis and Horus, two of them hid themselves under the cart she was pulling with her belongings, and two of them followed behind Isis.
Once they reached the delta area of protection, Isis and Horus were hungry and exhausted. They first came across a wealthy woman who refused to help them. They then came across a poor fisherman’s daughter who eagerly sought to help them, not know she was actually helping the Goddess Isis. At the same time, the scorpions were angry at the refusal of the wealthy woman, so snuck into her house and stung her young son- the wealthy woman ran outside crying with her son looking for help, but everyone was afraid of the scorpion poison and refused to help her. Once Isis realized what had happened, she revealed herself as the Goddess to the woman and healed her son from his wounds. Part of this healing process involved reciting spells, including the names of each of the seven scorpions so that Isis would gain magical power over them and their poisons. In the end, the grateful woman of wealth brought riches in thanks that ended up in possession of the fisherman’s daughter who had helped Isis. And Isis and Horus were able to stay safe so that she could raise Horus.
I got this from and “Egyptian Mythology” book by Don Nardo. Among other things, related to astrology it seems to integrate more association between Isis and Virgo and the Great Goddess, including how Mercury rules Virgo in traditional astrology, since Isis used the Mercury function by naming the scorpions as part of the spell, and also since Thoth is a Mercury figure who helped her initially.
Synchronicity! That is why they mention it at all. Whereas I would think of the power of names. Just like the story of hiding Heru. I know the story, but not the part of the scorpions nor the number seven. That is very interesting. I will dive into my archives (or online archives) to find the story. “Seven Magical Scorpions.”
But, it will have to wait until I squeeze in my posts on Auset’s twin sister NebHet (Nepthys). So Tehuti (Toth) and Mercury will also have to wait.
Besides, I am eager to draw my ‘astronomical’ chart afresh, and find as many Ausets in it as I can. (I have the illusion that it should be simple now. Lol.)
Thank you! Namaste.
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Reblogged this on The Seven Worlds and commented:
I have decided that the homework on this post cannot be finished. I have come a long way. Many posts on the Seven Worlds have resulted from a desire to understand as much of this article as I could. This is the reminder that it is time to move on. Thanks, Gray!
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Hey – thanks for this!
Been searching for Isis; first heard her mentioned by Mystic Medusa in a post about Rihanna, who has “Isis Rising”… Isis was about to be part of an Eclipse, or something; turns out, that entire event (may have been the Venus Transit…?) was exactly conjunct my DC; 18’00” Degrees Gemini.
My Saturn is 18 Virgo, so this squares that, but also, notably, with all your mention of the Virgo Pisces axis, Isis opposes my Natal Neptune at 17 degrees Sag (conj my AC).
I also have a Virgo Stellium in my 10th, consisting of Lilith conj North Node(7&8), then Saturn(18), then Sun+Lust(23&24), Mercury(26), and Venus(29); so I am very Virgo.
Just felt like painting a picture… 🙂
I have also written a book – in fragments!
(…it’s about a Twin Flame meeting that ignited my Kundalini, for reals… it is mega-multi-dimensional; all about the Triple Goddess, The Weaver Goddess… it’s called “Following Moira”)
The Reason I decided to leave a comment, today, is because while reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about this Goddess:
“GODDESS OF NEVER-NOT-BROKEN” ~ Ankhilanda, or something?
A great, viral & modern-classic article called; “While Lying Broken in a Pile On Your Bedroom Floor is a Good Idea” (Julie Peters?), introduced us to this fragmented Goddess, who fearlessly rides a reptilian-crocodile, while beaming prisms through her diamond, fractured-self… thought you might like to know about her 🙂
– I find I ALWAYS find an asteroid, when it is illuminated, or aspected…!
Thank you Iris for leaving such detailed thoughts here- it will make Isis happy you are writing a book about the Triple Goddess and the Weaver Goddess . . . “Following Moira” is an interesting title and I hope to hear more about it as you work further on it.
I also feel that Osiris and Isis are fascinating in terms of synastry in relationship, and it is interesting how the asteroids can also become involved in this.
And the reason I came, was also because I am *about* to have an Isis Return…
(As you may recall, I first met her *on* my Isis Return! So… just looking into all that 🙂 )
So, my book is about Synchronicity; all these things… was just looking up Isis/Osiris between me and Mr TwinFlame… we have/had an *~ explosive ~* Psyche/Eros conjunction…
My Saturn conj his North Node (fated) – ooo – which makes his Nodes square my Isis…
I was looking into our Isis/Osiris, because – cliche – I was having Egyptian past-life flashbacks the whole time (also in my book 🙂 ).
So: we have Osiris opposition (3 degrees); (wait, omg, my head is spinning ~ please bear with me… this is fascinating…!)
He has Isis(3′) and Osiris(9′) in Libra – and Eros(17′).~ his Psyche 15′ Aquarius (With Mars&Karma also at 15′ Aqua)
I have Eros(12′) and Psyche(4′) in Aquarius; Isis 18′ Gemini, and Osiris 12′ Aries.
That means, all those four asteroids are all mingled in together n our Synastry!
His Isis Trine my Psyche
His Osiris Trine my Eros
His Isis wide Trine my Eros
His Osiris wide Trine my Psyche
His Eros Trine my Isis
His Psyche Trine my Isis
His Osiris opp my Osiris
His Eros opp my Osiris
His Psyche wide opp my Osiris
His Nodes square my Isis
~ I was seriously not expecting to find all that… can’t look, anymore!
Great place for a Revelation. 🙂 Wow.
Hi Gray, I found your article most informative, thank you. I just found out today that asteroid Isis is exactly conjunct my balsamic moon in Virgo in 8th house; thus I can ascertain from your article that she has found her perfect place here in my chart :). I have always felt an infinity with the goddess isis, and transcendence and Motherhood and all the creativity that that involves is a very important part of my life, as is its erudition. I invite you to my blog @ http://bridgetcameron.com/ thanks again, Bridget 🙂
Thank you Bridget, for some reason I am having difficulty accessing your blog. Yes, it does seem that you have an auspicious placement of Isis in Virgo in your 8th House, conjunct a Balsamic Moon as far as working with themes of transformation and rebirth go. Thank you for sharing here, Gray
Thank you. You may have better luck with this link, http://bridgetcameron.wordpress.com/ cheers, Bridget
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Wow… In depth article… Im relatively new to all this… through dreams visions, synchronicities and so on… And i can relate to Isis, as my Sun, Saturn, Mercury and North Node are in Virgo 12th house…
But Isis and Osiris are in Sagittarius conjunct in 3rd house… I try to make sense of all of this but that is a lot of information… Have to say that i’ve been through death and rebirth since meeting my Twin Flame in June 2011 (and apparentely, Isis and Osiris were conjunct too). His Isis, Juno and Lilith are in Virgo, conjunct my sun and my North Node, and His North Node is in Pisces. (not mentioning that his Osiris is conjunct my Rising and Pluto)…
So I don’t know how to start making sense of all of this… any insight would be welcome!
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