She is rising, She is rising
From the pit.
Come, we will go to Inanna,
We will sit in the lap so holy,
Inanna is ascending, Inanna is ascending
From the pit.
–Lady Olivia Robertson, “Space Magic: Oracle of the Goddess Inanna” (From the FOI Clergy Booklet, “Urania: Ceremonial Magic of the Goddess”)
In the Chicago-based Fellowship of Isis Lyceum to which I belong, we have a lovely and emotionally impactful way of commemorating the descent of the great Sumerian goddess Inanna at our annual Samhain ritual as well as Her ascent at our Imbolc gathering. Continue reading
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!
You know you’ve been investing a lot of energy in public Pagan rituals when it takes you an entire week to replenish yourself! That’s always a delicate balance to walk: acts of service to your Powers and your city’s spiritual community while ensuring that your own personal reserves of energy don’t get depleted. And when you add the effects of a full moon total lunar eclipse in the mix, it goes without saying that you’re going to be living in what the ancient Chinese proverb refers to as “interesting times”!
Yet it was all well and good last weekend when the 22nd Annual Fellowship of Isis (FOI) Chicago Goddess Convention held sway in the city! The time-honored tradition of FOI clergy and friends/members of the Chicago Pagan community at large and representatives of other groups and traditions/Kemetic devotees/and curious seekers gathering together for a weekend of exchanging ideas, partaking of public ritual, celebrating, and welcoming the energies of transformation is alive and well.
Happy October! These are great days to be a devotee of the Kemetic Neteru in Chicago! Last weekend witnessed the convening of the 22nd Annual Fellowship of Isis Chicago Goddess Convention–more on that in a subsequent post–and for the next several days, noted Egyptian studies author Normandi Ellis is going to be giving workshops in and around the city on various aspects of ancient Egyptian religion and modern-day ritual and divination systems. I had the immense pleasure last night after work of attending a three-hour class Normandi taught at the Life Force Arts Center entitled Medju Neter: The Oracular Use of Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Continue reading
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 been a busy weekend for the Chicago Fellowship of Isis (FOI) Lyceum of Alexandria, one replete with two milestones: the re-launch of Isis-Seshat magazine, the quarterly issued journal for FOI members worldwide (I serve as the Executive Editor); and our first-ever public ritual, held last night, celebrating both the Chinese Lunar New Year 4713 (the Year of the Wooden Goat) as well as the Matronalia, the Roman Pagan festival honoring Juno as Goddess of Sovereignty; it occurred in ancient times at the onset of the Kalends of Mars (March 1). The evening was quite a departure from our usual public gatherings, wherein we enact a ritual chosen from the FOI’s official published corpus of liturgical texts for clergy training. Instead, Demetria, our Lyceum’s Priestess-Hierophant, and I devised a program comprised of short lectures (related to, in honor of the Year of the Goat, goat deities from around the world; astronomy and astrology; Taoism; the I-Ching; and Roman observances of Matronalia) broken up by the ritual activities of breath work, meditation, the blessing of seed packets, and a healing prayer circle we call the Pillar of Light, whose purpose is to channel energy for those not present who are in need of, and who have asked for, healing to enter their lives. Once the circle was opened, we celebrated with potluck feasting and cheerful conversations with the two newcomers who’d graced us with their presence; not only were they new to the Fellowship of Isis, but they were new to Paganism in general, so it was very pleasing to get to know them and receive their feedback that they found our gathering welcoming, informative, and heart-centered, which was music to my ears. Continue reading
Theologically speaking, as a hard polytheist, I believe that the Deities I love and serve objectively exist and have distinct, independent personalities with likes and dislikes, preferred/time-honored ritual offerings, and unique bodies of lore surrounding Them. They are not mental constructs/Jungian archetypes drawn from some collective Unconscious well. Continue reading