Isis is without doubt the most complete and many-sided image of the Goddess that mankind has ever conceived. Also, perhaps the longest-lasting; she was actively worshipped with established temples and priesthood, for at least 3 1/2 thousand years – nearly twice as long as Christ. Her beginnings cannot be dated, but in the Pyramid Texts of about 3000 BC she was already referred to as “the Great Isis” and the final suppression of her public worship was not achieved until the Theodosian Law of AD 426 a century after Constantine had made Christianity the official religion of the Empire. And even with her temples destroyed or converted to churches, she has refused to die.
Aset or Wset was her Egyptian name, and her brother-husband Osiris was Asir of Wsir. Isis and Osiris were the Greek forms of the names. Both Aset and Asir mean “throne”, so their association with sovereignty (whether Gods or men) must be as old as their names.
For the worshipper, her magical power was something which could be appealed to directly. She was compassionate, motherly Goddess who understood suffering from her own experience and who could be asked to bend the rules in her supplicant’s favor when a problem seemed humanly insoluble – a characteristic later taken over by the Virgin Mary.
What follows is the famous Negative Confession, whose thirty-eight declarations sum up the Egyptian ethical code. The Egyptian’s attitude seems to have been that even if he had committed some of these sins, he was now regretting and disowning them. The modern Initiate would do well to have the Priest omit any of the declarations which cannot honestly be made on her behalf.
‘I have not harmed any man.
‘I have nit injured my family.
‘I have committed no evil in a holy place.
‘I have not kept evil companions.
‘I have not wrought evil.
‘I have not placed a burden of work upon others.
‘I have not sought honors.
‘I have not ill-treated those that have worked for me.
‘I not scorned the God.
‘I have not defrauded the oppressed one of property.
‘I have not done that which the Gods hate.
“I have not vilified a servant to his master.
‘I have not caused pain to any.
‘I have not let any man go hungry.
‘I have not made any man to weep.
‘I have not committed murder.
‘I have not caused murder top be committed.
‘I have not inflicted pain.
‘I have not stolen the offerings in the temple.
‘I have not stolen the sacred bread.
‘I have not stolen the bread offered to the spirits of the departed.
‘I have not committed fornication.
‘I have not polluted myself in the sanctuary of the God of my city.
‘I have not given short measure.
‘IU have not stolen land.
‘I have not encroached upon the land of others.
‘I have not cheated the seller.
‘I have not cheated the buyer.
‘I have not stolen milk from the mouths of children.
“I have not stolen cattle from the pastures.
‘I have stolen the sacred birds of the Gods.
‘I have not caught fish with bait of their own kind.
‘I have not turned back water, when it should flow.
‘I have not cut the bank of a canal.
“I have not out out as fire when it should burn, or a light where it should shine.
‘I have not defrauded the Gods of their meat offerings.
‘I have driven off the cattle of the Gods.
I have not repulsed the God in his manifestations.
‘I am pure. I am pure. I am pure.
‘I have seen the eye of Ra when it was full in Annu, which is called by some Heliopolis. Therefore let no evil befall me in this land, and in the Hall of Double Maati; because I, even I, know the names of these Gods who are therein, and who are the followers of the Great God and the Great Goddess.
From the “Witches Goddess” – by Janet and Stewart Farrar