Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mourning Moon, the Lament of Isis

We celebrated a full moon Esbat last weekend, the Mourning Moon. I have to admit I don't attend Esbats as regularly as I should. But our High Priestess is a follower of Hecate, and the Greeks had celebrations for her at this time of year. In addition, Nov. 24th is the Egyptian 'Festival of Burning Lamps' for Isis and Osiris. Not only that, there was just a celebration for Bast. So I figured I should attend. During the ritual, I read "The Lament of Isis", from James Frazer's 'Golden Bough'. After the ritual, one of our coveners said she really liked the reading. So I've posted it here.

When Isis and her sister Nephthys found the body of the murdered Osiris, they collapsed beside him. The two Goddess then commenced with this lamentation, which was heard throughout the world, even reaching Heaven and the Underworld:

Come to thy House, Come to thy House.
Oh god On! Come to thy house, thou who has no foes.
O fair youth, come to thy house, that thou mayest see me.
O fair boy, come to thy house...

I see thee not, yet doth my heart yearn after thee and mine eyes desire thee. Come to her who loves thee, who loves thee, Unnefer, thou blessed one!

Come to thy sister, come to thy wife, to thy wife, thou whose heart stands still. Come to thy housewife. I am thy sister by the same mother, thou shalt not be far from me. Gods and men have turned their faces toward thee and weep for thee together...

I call after thee and weep, so that my cry is heard to heaven, thou hearest not my voice; yet am I thy sister, whom thou didst love on earth; thou didst love none but me, my brother! my brother!

No God or mortal ever mourned more than Isis. Even the Nile could not contain her immeasurable tears, causing the mighy river to flood for the first time. (In the lament, Isis refers to Osiris as 'Unnefer' , which means 'Good Being", a title bestowed on the kindly God.)

The words of Isis come to me whenever I recall the events surrounding the untimely death of a friend. I remember her mother crying, "I only wish I could bring her home". Everyone suffers from loss. But I feel we experience the most searing grief when someone is taken from us tragically, randomly, or prematurely. We have all felt what Isis felt: the loss of someone good and dear, taken far too soon, who is actually a part of us.

We thank and honor you, Isis, for showing us that even a Goddess can suffer tragedy. "Come to thy House" you wailed. Like us, all you wished to do was bring your loved-one home.

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