Union of Isis and Osiris

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Aegis of Isis (Copper alloy ca. 900 – 600 B.C., Egypt)

  • On April 28, 2015 the Isis and Osiris asteroids conjunct at 6° Leo
  • Previously on March 2, 2013, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 11° Aquarius
  • In June 2011, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 12° Leo
  • In April 2009, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 13° Aquarius
  • In August 2007, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 21° Leo
  • In August 2005, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 23° Capricorn
  • In October 2003, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 0° Virgo
  • In October 2001, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 14° Capricorn
  • In December 1999, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 7° Virgo
  • In December 1997, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 18° Capricorn
  • In May 1996, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 16° Leo
  • In January 1994, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 22° Capricorn
  • The next conjunction of the Osiris and Isis asteroids will be on January 27, 2017 at 8° Aquarius

On April 28, 2015 we experienced a union of the asteroids named Isis (#42) and Osiris (#1923).  Since their last conjunction at the beginning of March 2013, I have been working with a theory that each time the Isis and Osiris asteroids join we experience a resurrection of their archetypal themes in our lives.  In particular, I have been theorizing that their conjunction could connect on an archetypal level with the moment of myth in which Isis melds the dismembered body of Osiris back together, fashioning him a new phallus she thereby inserts inside herself in an act of sexual magic that leads to the birth of Horus.  Along these lines, there could theoretically be an impact of re-animating the Osiris archetype in our collective at the time of their conjunction.

Following their previous conjunction in March 2013, I wrote articles about the Osiris and Isis asteroids you can read here:  (1) Osiris: Alchemic Archetype, and (2)  Isis: Archetype of Love and Devotion.  My aim in this article is to return to these archetypes and explore how this new phase between the Isis and Osiris asteroids fits within our current astrological transits and chaotic current events.

Isis and Osiris in temple of Isis

Isis with her wings around Osiris, from Temple of Isis, Philae, Egypt

Some say Osiris and Isis fell in love in the womb of Nut, the Egyptian Night Sky Goddess, twin lovers who were born from the mating of Sky (Nut) and Earth (Geb).  Nut and Geb also gave birth to two other siblings, Set and Nephtys, and these four siblings grew up within epic drama.   Osiris was a fertile Nile River god who ruled as pharaoh with Isis (whose name meant “throne”) as his mate, a goddess of magic and nature.  There are different versions of their story, but common to the plots is the characterization of Set as being jealous of Osiris and hungry for his seat of power.  In some versions Set’s anger is intensified when his wife Nephtys seduces Osiris by disguising herself as Isis, giving birth to the jackal-headed Anubis from their mating.

The pivotal turn of the plot comes when Set tricks Osiris into climbing into a coffin which he then seals and sends down the Nile River in order to claim the rulership of Osiris for himself.  After Isis searches for and finds the coffin holding Osiris in a journey that contains parallels to the myth of Demeter searching for her daughter Persephone, Set steals it and cuts the body of Osiris into fourteen pieces.  Isis responds by transforming herself into a winged kite and flying to retrieve all of the missing fragments of her lover’s body except for his phallus.  While there are different versions describing how Isis restores her husband’s sex organ, including one in which Thoth retrieves it for her from a fish, in all versions Isis manages to completely reassemble and reanimate Osiris long enough to make love to him and become impregnated with their offspring Horus. Ultimately, Osiris descends to the underworld and resurrects himself as the ruler and healer of souls of the dead.

There are themes of Taurus and Scorpio in the story of Osiris and Isis, as the Venusian love of Isis (Taurus) brings her lover Osiris back from death (Scorpio), transforming his fertile earth rulership (Taurus) into the realm of Soul and Spirit (Scorpio).  Fittingly, this new conjunction between Isis and Osiris fell within the lunar cycle of a waxing Moon ripening toward a Full Moon in Scorpio in the coming days ahead.  In the polarity between the fixed, potent signs of Taurus and Scorpio we feel the full spectrum of what it means to be Soul incarnated in the flesh of our human bodies and mind.  In the week leading up to the recent conjunction between Osiris and Isis and in the week since, current events such as the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the riotous protests in Baltimore have been collective points of focus that have been both gut wrenching and heart opening.  In moments of collective trauma, especially now with the widespread access to images and information through social media, the hearts of humanity can become united to a greater extent.  This is true even in polarizing events such as the riots in Baltimore that provoke intense arguments between divergent perspectives.  The story of Isis and Osiris holds the intensity of their love that can weave together the most disparate of parts, and heal the dismembered and fractured parts of our being.  In the astrological wake of the seventh square between Pluto and Uranus, and the Libra Lunar Eclipse on April 4 that re-activated it, we have all had core emotions and issues stirred up to work through with love.

Isis by Yaroslav

Isis (2013) by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

Isis is a synthesizer of love and wisdom from our experiences, and by transit and aspect in our natal chart the Isis asteroid (#42) signifies unity, loyalty, devotion, sustaining, reassembling, resurrection, soul retrieval, healing of fragmentation, and finding wholeness of Self in relation with the Other.  Unlike her son Horus who wanted to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Set, Isis did not attempt to destroy Set but rather through love transcended their conflict, reuniting with her lover Osiris and propelling him into a deeper realm of power as the judge of the dead in the underworld.

There are many authors who have interpreted the story of Isis and Osiris through a depth psychology perspective, and in the alchemical work of Carl Jung the goddess Isis has been linked with the Prima Materia of alchemy.  As the Prima Materia is a primal, formless Source of all matter containing All, in a similar way through time Isis became a goddess who unified many goddesses from diverse cultures into herself.  At one point, she was depicted as the wife of the pharaoh with the hieroglyph for a throne on her head, but eventually became merged with the goddess Hathor as she also became a mother depicted with the cow horns and solar disk of Hathor on her head. As the figure of Osiris gained prominence, her mythic story also shifted to incorporate him, and their story became an important mystery ritual for ages. Moreover, following the traumatic invasion of Alexander the Great through the region, a figure whose conquests linked ancient teachings from Greece through Egypt, Babylonia, and India, Isis continued to synthesize and merge with other cultures, becoming associated with Aphrodite, Demeter, and many other goddesses and known as the Queen of Heaven.

The daughter of Night (Nut) and Earth (Geb), Isis has been commonly connected to the sign of Virgo in astrology.  The Virgo rulership of Mercury is interesting to ponder in association with Isis, as Mercury can move between the upper world and underworld and weave a web of connections between seemingly disparate points of focus.  Virgo also has an archetypal link with Isis through it’s polarity with Pisces, as Isis is a mythic figure who embodies the ability to integrate the detailed practical magic of Virgo with the expansive love and compassion of Pisces that flows in search of ultimate understanding.  We can also find themes of Virgo and Pisces in the form of the winged kite that Isis transforms into when searching for her dismembered beloved:

Kites have symbolic association with the underworld and psychic regeneration similar to Isis, as red kites often feed on dead animals in addition to the smaller mammals that they hunt.  In this way they provide a service to humans and their environment by helping to dispose of the dead that could otherwise rot, and they do so with a graceful flight that is an apt image for the times we can flow within the polarity between Virgo and Pisces.  Transformed into a winged kite in search of the fragmented pieces of Osiris, Isis draws upon the detailed discernment of Virgo to not only find all of him but to also magically reanimate him through a Piscean act of love.  For these reasons Isis has also been linked to both the Virgin Mary as well as Mary Magdalene and their love for Jesus, another story with strong Virgo-Pisces themes.

With the recent conjunction of Isis with Osiris occurring in Leo, we receive guidance that courage and loyalty will be of vital importance in our journey ahead, loyalty to the pursuit of our own creative actualization in the face of societal limitations and oppressive conditions.  Isis does not call for us to be perfect, but rather to embrace our flawed humanity and live from as authentic a place as possible, full of love for the life we are living and the beloved we hold dear to our hearts.

Osiris_E3751_mp3h8829-b

Osiris (circa 664 – 332 BCE) photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr

The Osiris archetype involves themes of becoming, fertility, regeneration, individuation, destruction, death, and rebirth.  Aspects by transit or in the natal chart with the Osiris asteroid (#1923) can also connect to places we have been wounded by societal conditioning and where we need to explore and transform ourselves.  Approaching the archetype of Osiris brings us into our vast collective unconscious, as he has served as a nature god of fertility, a ruler of kingdoms, and the lord of the underworld who judges and heals the soul of the dead.  As Neptune is an astrological signifier of our collective unconscious, it is fascinating to note that the recent conjunctions of the Isis and Osiris asteroids have fallen conjunct either side of the nodes of Neptune.  The South Node of Neptune is around 11° of Aquarius, and the Osiris-Isis conjunction was at or near this degree in March 2013, April 2009, and will be again in January 2017.  The North Node of Neptune is around 11° Leo, and the Osiris-Isis conjunction was near this degree in June 2011 and the current conjunction this past week was about five degrees away.  In addition, with the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio being in trine to transiting Neptune in Pisces, there is a significant Neptunian potential within the recently past and freshly begun cycles between the Isis and Osiris asteroids.

A clue to what this could mean exactly is found in the book Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation, in which Dr. Thom Cavalli interpreted the Osiris story through an alchemical Jungian lens and connected Osiris to the Prima Materia just as other authors have connected Isis:

Osiris is a model of submission. He allows all the terrors that befall him to occur, just as the prima materia endures the tortures of the laboratory. Such deliberate sacrifice is meant to serve as a model for personal individuation. It justifies all the pain we daily suffer in order to transcend this world and leave it wiser and more enlightened. Submission and trust in this process allow love to enter the vessel. We are then embraced by the Mother and taken into her arms. Her only aim is that we bring something new and unique into the world. (p. 205)

Osiris has strong association with Scorpio and Taurus through gaining mastery of unconscious forces (Scorpio) that can be utilized as an inner resource (Taurus).  As Dr. Cavalli wrote, “Osiris, then, is the archetypal energy activating the unconscious so that it is not only a repository of memory, but also an incredible resource in everyday life” (p.41).  With the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio being in square to Jupiter in Leo, and the new cycle between Isis and Osiris also beginning in Leo in range of a wide square to the Scorpio Full Moon, we can viscerally feel the difficulty of our path at this time and how we can feel dismembered at times by experiences of trauma and oppressive aspects of society that can condition us if we do not consciously resist them.

Yet there is Light to lead us courageously forward on our path within our conscious ego and unconscious, if only we keep faith to find and receive it.  This golden navigating ability is found within our own darkness and shadow.  As Dr. Cavalli wrote in Embodying Osiris, “From time immemorial there have been taboos to keep one from discovering this divine inner light, for unless we are ready to receive it we will either misuse this sacred light or destroy ourselves” (p. 101).  This brings up the archetype of Scorpio the Full Moon will be illuminating in a few days, and how we can find our true authenticity through the testing of taboos and boundaries of our surrounding culture no matter the temporary shaming by others it may bring.  When our passionate Leo desires help us breakthrough the rigidity of Taurus to change and merging, we can develop our inner Scorpio capacity of how to use and merge resources with other for the greater collective benefit.  Through the Pisces surrender of transiting Neptune and the Capricorn responsibility of transiting Pluto, we can flow with the changes occurring around us while standing firm within our sense of essential nature.  We can then liberate ourselves from the aspects of societal condition that go against our authenticity, not out of action that breaks cultural taboos for the sake of rebellion only, but rather for the sake of making clear choices that align with our personal truth.

08.200.6

Horus in relief block from building of Amenemhat I (ca. 1981 – 1952 B.C.) in Egypt

When we additionally bring in the figure of Horus who was born from the love between Isis and Osiris, we integrate another elemental theme:  justice.  Among other significations, justice will be an essential theme of Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius, and the complex ripples of effect that are created from choices to seek vengeance out of a sense of personal or collective justice.  As Sherman Alexie wrote in his novel Flight, “Is revenge a circle inside of a circle inside of a circle?” The more we look into the conflicts surrounding us in our collective, the more we can see perpetuating cycles of wrongs being attempted to be made right.  Horus is the child of Isis and Osiris and the restorer of justice for Osiris, focused on avenging his father through removing Set from power. In Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation, Dr. Thom Cavalli portrayed Horus as a liberator of humankind’s individuality in the face of collective conditioning, “representing the incorporation of inner values and with it, an individuation process that perfects the uncivilized shadow that dwells within each of us” (p. 185). As Osiris ultimately judged the souls of the dead in balance with the feather of Ma’at, Dr. Cavalli wrote that this desired quality of ma’a-kheru that can be translated as “true of voice” can also be applied to individuals such as Horus who come to terms with “their own heart rather than merely giving blind obedience to the state” (p. 185).

Fascinatingly, the Horus asteroid (#1924) has been transiting conjunct Venus in Gemini this week during the initiation of a new phase between the Isis and Osiris asteroids.  As transiting Venus is the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Libra, and Pluto retrograde in Capricorn is still within range of a square to the lunar nodes, there is an evolutionary potential for each of us to gain a greater sense of our true heart and voice within the societal dynamics surrounding us.  In this way whatever has been frustrating as an obstacle or limitation, or even as an oppressive source of suffering, can be seen in another way as a force demanding that we speak and embody our truth.

References

Cavalli, Thom. (2010). Embodying Osiris: the Secrets of Alchemical Transformation. Quest Books.

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7 thoughts on “Union of Isis and Osiris

  1. Pingback: Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius | Gray Crawford

    • Hi Emma, thank you for your comment. I wrote about the connection between Isis and Osiris coming together on the upcoming New Moon in my post about the Mercury retrograde in Capricorn last month.

  2. Pingback: Spirit Bio: [Herm] Aphroditos – The Horse and Crow

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