The Fellowship of Isis Chicago’s Lyceum of Alexandria-Mishigami (note: Mishigami is the Ottawa First Nation’s term for Lake Michigan, literally “Great Water”) invites one and all to its public Yule ritual on Saturday, December 19, 2015, at the Life Force Arts Center in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., we’ll convene and present newcomers with an Introduction to the Fellowship of Isis (FOI) and briefly survey its nearly 40-year history as an esoteric organization dedicated to championing the Divine Feminine as embodied in the Great Egyptian Goddess Isis.
The Yule ritual itself will begin promptly at 5 o’ clock. There will be a brief introduction on the cave as a symbol of the Holy Mother and various Deities associated with caves, light, and winter. Homeric and Orphic Hymns will be recited. Additionally, special rituals will be held for Teutonic Gods and Goddesses honored at this time of year, with a lighting of a Yule log and Old World wassailing. December 19 is also the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas the Wonder-Worker in the Eastern Orthodox Church, so He will be acknowledged with storytelling and an exchange of holiday gifts–fear not, the Krampus will surely be honored as well! (Let us all give the Krampus His due!)
Our Yule altar last year.
The Main Liturgy to be performed is the 7th ritual from the late Lady Olivia Robertson’s Dea: Rites & Mysteries of the Goddess booklet: “Winter: Star Rite,” which honors the Goddess Rhea and various celestial Divinities. Rhea is a Goddess of the Drum, so bring your handheld percussion instruments, from drums to tambourines to sistrums! The Liturgy will conclude with the Lyceum’s time-honored tradition of the Pillar of Light prayers for those in need of healing.
“Rhea” from the 1895 “Manual of Mythology” by Alexander S. Murray. Public domain.
After the liturgy, there will be ample time for feasting together! To that end, please bring a potluck dish or beverage to share.
A suggested donation of $10 per person helps defray rental costs. However, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
We hope to see you there!
Calling all Kemetic polytheists, Pagans, Tameran Wiccans, ceremonial magicians, FOI members worldwide, devotees of the Neteru of the Two Lands, and friends! All are welcome to the 22nd annual Fellowship of Isis (FOI) Goddess Convention in Chicago! It takes place Saturday, September 26, 2015, at the ManKind Project Building, 1900 W. Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60612 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (On-site registration begins at 9 a.m.) Mercifully, parking is free and abundant outside the ManKind Project Building–a rarity in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood! Huzzah!
Sponsored by the members and friends of the Chicago-based FOI Lyceums of Eleusis and Alexandria Mishigami; and the Iseums of Hathor-Neith-MahaLakshmi and the Rekhet Akhu; and the Dunsmuir, California-based Lyceum of Karnak; as well as by Chicago’s Life Force Arts Center, this year’s Goddess Convention is dedicated to the Great Ennead of Holy Powers. The Main Liturgy to be performed is the Priesthood Alchemical Drama of “Uranus, Coming Forth by Day”–the sixth ritual in the late Lady Olivia Robertson’s FOI clergy publication, Sphinx: Goddess Myths and Mysteries.
It was deliberately selected not only for its themes of redemption and rebirth–ones that are very relevant in a strife-ridden world where many people are coming to consciousness about stepping up their service to their Powers and the planet as the latter continues to undergo great upheavals–but because it is solely oriented towards the Neteru of Egypt. The performance of this Main Liturgy is a sacred reclamation of “Isis” as a Holy Name of a Great, Ever-Living Goddess–not a besmirched, degraded, and hated name inaccurately assigned as an acronym to depict the egregiously evil deeds of terrorists fueled by a vicious Abrahamic zealotry. There is an urgency behind this reclamation; we love our Goddess in Whose Name our Fellowship is derived and anchored, as we love and adore all the Children of Shu and Tefnut. At this time of the Autumnal Equinox in North America, when energies are focused on giving thanks for a successful harvest and on preparing for the darkness to come, we honor the Powers from Whom manifold blessings flow. The Powers that sustain us. The Powers that light our way through the Duat.
It’s a beautiful day here in Chicago to be celebrating the 4th Epagomenal Day, the birthday of the Great Goddess Isis! Hail to the Throne, She Who Takes Possession of the Two Lands! Hail Weret Hekau, Lady Great in Magic! Continue reading
Last night marked the end, in the Serbian calendar, of the “Unclean Days”–a period of time characterized by folk observances that reveal a commingled Pagan and Eastern Orthodox Christian sensibility. One of the major themes emphasized during this liminal 12-day period between the waning influence of the old year and the embryonic energies yet to crystallize in the new is the auspiciousness of performing divination.
Now, while my mother tells me that I had a great uncle in Serbia who performed divination by gazing into an old brazen bowl into which he read the shapes of a beeswax candle’s droplets in spring water, and my mother’s own mother told fortunes with a regular deck of playing cards as well as scrying in Turkish coffee grounds, I like to stick with the Tarot. But not just any Tarot deck–though, admittedly, like many Pagans, I have several at my disposal–my preferred one is the very first one to come across my petite priestess hands: a Marseilles Tarot deck given to me by my awesome Uncle Milan, my mother’s brother. During his 50 years of life (cut short by lymphoma) on this planet, he was an astute esotericist, Jungian psychologist, gifted viola player, and good-humored, pipe tobacco-smoking outdoors enthusiast. The Marseilles deck was his, given to me before my fifteenth birthday with a very knowing wink from his deep-set, coal-black eyes. Continue reading
Stunning gold figure of Selqet found in the Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb.
In the Old Cairo Calendar, today marks the Feast Day of the great Goddess Selqet (or Serket), the scorpion-crowned protectress of the living and the dead. Like my beloved Patroness, Nebet-Het, Selqet is Great in Heka (Magick); She knows the ways of the pharmakeion, from noxious poisons and the venom of scorpion and serpent as well as their antidotes and healing herbs and resins. In the Pyramid Texts, it is written that when the Goddess Aset fled into the marshes to deliver Her son Heru, Selqet dispatched seven sacred scorpions to ward Mother and Child. She is awesomely apotropaic. Continue reading
Wooden Late Period statue of Nebet-Het in the “Inside Ancient Egypt” exhibit at the Field Museum.
What kind of a priestess of the goddess Nebet-Het would I be if I didn’t blog about funerary things? With Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio–soon to be joined by a stellium of planets in that Plutonian sign–there’s no more appropriate time than the present to share one funerary ritual I’ve co-facilitated more than once. For members of the same family, sadly enough. Continue reading
By way of editorial comment: I wrote this essay the day after the event happened back in November 2006. I tried getting it published in Sage Woman and Circle Magazine at the time but never received word. Well, now that I’m in the blogosphere, I can release it into the world–Namaste, Bitches--as was my intent for all Pagans who appreciate Starhawk’s work in the world to enjoy.
It came unbidden and electrifying, the chance to see in person the woman who altered the course of my spiritual unfolding in this lifetime when I was but a fifteen-year-old seeker: Starhawk. Continue reading
Here’s my editorial note for this poem: I wrote it immediately upon coming back from a shamanic journey to meet with the goddess Sedna in the Arctic Ocean; I returned to an ordinary state of consciousness and grounded and centered myself with prayers of thanks to my helping spirits and with food. My relationship with the Inuit goddess Sedna began the day before I received word of my-then Archpriestess/mentor’s diagnosis of Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (CJD), a horrible, lethal neurological disease that shut down her senses one by one and killed her within 8 weeks of her receiving the diagnosis. Sedna came to me roaring with rage that day, and in the coming weeks I would come to understand why. Again, I’ll be crafting a series of blog posts narrating how the Chicago Fellowship of Isis community banded around our beloved Deena Butta to help mitigate the devastating effects of this disease. Many prayed for Deena to have a complete and total “miracle-cure,” an absolute reversal of CJD. I, however, prayed for Her Highest Good, especially after Deena told me that she wanted to die so she could be reunited with her 22-year-old son Maris, who killed himself not quite two years prior. So much of Sedna’s grief and rage, as I would come to find out, were mirrored in Deena’s state of being in the final weeks of her life. Continue reading
As much as I love writing for a living and writing for pleasure, the one writing assignment I dread ever doing again is crafting–and delivering–a eulogy. One of the great and terrible milestones of my life that I’m going to have to address with a series of blog posts, so irrevocable and lasting have been the profound spiritual transformations wrought by it, was the death, on January 27, 2013, of my dearest spiritual mentor in Chicago’s Pagan community, Deena Butta. Archpriestess-Hierophant of the Chicago-based Fellowship of Isis Lyceums of Eleusis and Alexandria, Deena touched the lives of so many people in her public priestessing ministry for over 35 years. Her widower husband, Ray Butta, asked me to write and deliver her eulogy the morning of her funeral, January 31, 2013. As we in the Chicago Fellowship of Isis community gear up for our 21st annual Goddess Festival, a public celebration of the Divine Feminine Deena founded and energetically prepared for every autumn–even leading up to her death–I wanted to honor Deena’s memory and legacy by publishing the eulogy I wrote and delivered at the behest of Ray. As we say in Egyptian Paganism/the Kemetic Reconstructionist path, “What is remembered, lives.” I will always remember and love you, Deena. Continue reading