Dee Finney's blog
start date July 20, 2011
todays's date August 1, 2014
TOPIC: THE ISIS TEMPLE AT ALEXANDRIA
NOTE: I AM CURRENTLY READING THE BOOK TITLED: POWER OF THE MAGDALENE, WHICH FREQUENTLY MENTIONS THAT MARY MAGDALENE WAS TRAINED TO BE AN INITIATED PRIESTESS AT THE ISIS TEMPLE AT ALEXANDRIA. I COULDN'T HELP BUT BE INTRIGUED ABOUT THE TEMPLE ITSELF AND WHAT A PRIESTESS OF ISIS MIGHT DO. THE BOOK STATES THAT MARY MAGDALENE WAS SPIRITUALLY MARRIED TO ISIS IN THIS TEMPLE. OBVIOUSLY THIS IS A SPRITUAL CEREMONY WITH SOMEONE STANDING IN FOR THE GODDESS ISIS
At Alexandria there was a Temple to Isis by a canal in the eastern sector. Coins from the time of Trajanus suggest there was a pylon (or two) which means it was most likely built in ancient Egyptian fashion, just as we said the Greeks were mindful to do.
The Serapeum, which was built on a rocky mound in the southwestern district of Rakhotis, had at its inner court a small Temple to Isis and Harpocrates. Also here, Roman coins from Trajanus are helpful with information: they depict a a temple on top of a double-stepped podium where a flat segmentary pediment is carried by papy´ruscolumns. As the cult of Serapis had associatins with the cult of Isis as a mother goddess, this gave the small Isis temple a character of mammissi. The rest of the Serapeum is however more Greek than Egyptian.
There are reports of a Temple to Isis on the Island of Pharos. Sofar I have not been able to find the source of these rumours, more than allusions to "Isis Pharia"here.
This is a good link about Pharos which also mentions Isis Pharia and that in 1963 a colossal stone statue of Isis, 10 m tall, was discovered in the waters thereby. Immediately it is associated with "Isis Pharia" but heavens! It´s headless sand without inscriptions!! I still want to find another source for this. There are also mentionings of "Isis Pelagia".
Coin showing Isis Pharia supposedly. It´s getting better!
R.E. Witt - Isis in the Ancient World, p 100: "The newly built seaport (Alexandria) was the fitting home for the Osiris whom Hellenistic influence had regitalized as Serapis and for the Isis whom Alexandrian ships were to carry as Pelagia, seaborne, around Mediterranean shores."
And then he says: (hearken!)
"But without the conservatvie elements provided by Memphis the religion of the Alexandrian Sarapeum and the Pharos of Isis could never have flourished." (sic).
Creation, Creatrix of the Nile Flood, Diadem of
Life, Divine Mother, Female Principle in Nature, Fresh Tuft, Fructifier,
Giver of Life, Goddess of Moisture, Green Goddess, Lady of Green Crops,
Mistress of the Earth, She of Green Wings and Crescent Moon,
The esoteric symbolism of the rose as it has been
corresponded to the Goddess Isis. There is another flower with which
Isis has an even more ancient connection - and that is the lotus. It was
through reading the book “Mysteries
of Isis: Her Worship and Magick” by
deTraci Regula, that I first learned Isis had an aspect as the
An Honoured Place
Isis and the Lotus in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century
“Not a monument in the valley of the Nile …without this plant in an honoured place. On the capitals of the Egyptian pillars, on the thrones and even the head-dresses of the Divine Kings, the lotus is everywhere …” - Helena P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine”
|Portico of Temple of Isis at Philae, painting by David Roberts|
Although her association with the lotus has come down to us from ancient Egypt, the Goddess Isis and the lotus were particularly evident in esoteric art and literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The Theosophical Society (1875) and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (1888) influenced many prominent individuals who were renowned as artists, poets, authors, thinkers and scholars of their day. Helena P. Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society wrote “Isis Unveiled” (1877) which she said was channeled material from the Goddess Isis. Moina Mathers had a dream of Isis which led to public performances of rituals dedicated to Isis in a theatre in Paris (1892).
There were a growing number of published reports of archaeological expeditions, headed by individuals that began developing a more scientific method in their approach to the search and interpretation of their discoveries in Egypt - most notable among these was William Flinders Petrie, hailed as the ‘founder of modern Egyptology.’ Some of the more famous of these expeditions were carried out under the auspices of the Egypt Exploration Fund, now the Egypt Exploration Society, headquartered in London (1882). Along with Reginald Stuart Poole, this organization was co-founded by Amelia B. Edwards. Ms. Edwards became aware of the need to protect the ancient monuments of Egypt from tourism and modern development during a trip she made to Egypt in 1873-1874. A vivid account of her voyage on the Nile was published in 1876, “A Thousand Miles Up the Nile.”
New avenues of spiritual thought, art, literature and scientific discoveries all helped to fuel the public imagination. This was an important period - it marked the public recognition and acceptance of spiritual pursuits outside previously accepted vehicles and it marked the beginning of modern Egyptology.
Many of the ‘romantic’ works that feature the Goddess Isis from this period contained hidden esoteric meaning, that might not be apparent to the casual reader. Famous examples of this type of work are the magical novels of Dion Fortune. Two of her books, “Sea Priestess” and “Moon Magic” are considered the finest magic novels ever written. They’ve been called ‘ceremonial magic textbooks’ and center around a main character who is a Priestess of Isis, named Vivian Le Fay Morgan. Of “Sea Priestess” Dion Fortune wrote these words: “It is a book with an undercurrent; upon the surface a romance; underneath a thesis upon the theme; 'All women are Isis and Isis is all women‘.”
Georg Moritz Ebers (1837-1898) was a German Egyptologist and novelist. He discovered the ancient Egyptian medical papyrus (c. 1550 BC) that is named for him, (“Ebers” papyrus) at Luxor, Thebes in the winter of 1873-74. He later began popularizing ancient Egypt in historical romances, basing the subject matter on his own findings and studies. One of his works “An Ancient Egyptian Princess: An Historical Novel” (1888) contains this passage featuring Isis and the lotus:
“Isis hastened to embrace her risen and delivered husband, gave the beautiful Horus his lotus-flower again instead of the sword, and scattered fruits and flowers over the earth, while Osiris seated himself under a canopy wreathed with ivy, and received the homage of all the spirits of the earth and of Amenti.”
William Norman Guthrie (1868-1944) was an ordained Episcopalian minister, who served as a lecturer and professor of literature at the University of Chicago and several other prominent universities. He served as rector of St. Mark’s Church in Bouwerie, New York from 1911-1937. He strove to attract new members to his congregation by creating his own liturgy for his Sunday services that incorporated various religious traditions, including those of ancient Egypt. One of these liturgy works was titled “The Gospel of Osiris: Being an Epic Canto and Paraphrase of Ancient Fragments”(1916), a portion reads:
“Wherefore Isis took a lotus from the river
And offered it unto Osiris
That he might even breathe its sweetness;
And lifting it then to heaven,
She cried aloud - “Lo, Ra,
Thou that wanest to old age,
And waxest again to youth,
I offer thee the pure lotus
That springeth up of itself
From the divine splendour hidden in the depths!
For the nostrils expressly of Ra,
He shot up out of the pool of purity,
He waxed, he budded, he bloomed:
It is the very head of my beloved.
Acceptable to thee be my grateful sacrifice!”
The author and clairvoyant, Mabel Collins was an early member of the Theosophical Society. She led the Light on the Path Lodge of the Theosophical Society with Daniel Nicol Dunlop in London. One of her works is titled “Idyll of the White Lotus: A Mystical Novel” (1884). Her sister in law, Louisa Cook, was present one day when Mabel was writing. She noticed that Mabel suddenly became rigid, and with her eyes closed, Mabel wrote until at last she opened her eyes. Mabel found that she had written the prologue and first chapter of “Idyll of the White Lotus.” This type of experience continued until Mabel had seven chapters completed. A character portrayed in this work is ‘Vidya, Lady of the Lotus.’ There are many beautiful passages, including this one, attributed to Vidya:
"The royal flower of Egypt dwells upon the sacred waters, which in their purity and peace fitly form its eternal resting-place. I am the spirit of the flower; I am sustained upon the waters of truth, and my life is formed of the breath of the heavens, which is love …”
The writing of these individuals and many others were influenced by the translations of ancient Egyptian texts that were being published, in particular those of Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, Keeper of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum in London. We know far more about the translation of hieroglyphs today, and his works are not considered reliable by modern Egyptologists. But he still has a place as a pioneer in this field. Even he freely admitted that the translation of hieroglyphs was very new at the time he began to publish his books, and he imagined that they would someday be considered out of date. His books are still popular though, and there are two main reasons for this. First, they are easily obtainable and affordable, thanks to being constantly in print. Second, he provided pages of hieroglyphic texts with the English translation line by line - an invaluable resource - they can be checked against more accurate works like R. O. Faulkner’s “Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian“and Alan H. Gardiner’s “Egyptian Grammar.”
The mystery and beauty of ancient Egypt reached out across the centuries and touched something in the hearts, minds and souls of the people mentioned above, and many, many others during this period of time. Isis called, they heard the “Call of the Goddess” and each answered in their own way.
Flower of the Sun
Lotus Symbolism in Ancient Egypt
“And the heart is like the bud of the lotus flower … while the Egyptians worshipped the flower of the sun (Isis).” - August Strindberg, “A Blue Book,” Munich (1918)
|Detail of blue lotus from the tomb of Nakht|
The pink colored lotus of India (Nelumbo nucifera) was introduced into the land of Egypt from Persia during the Late Period. Before that, there were the white lotus (Nymphaea lotus) and the blue lotus (Nymphaea cerulea) both of which are native to Egypt. The blue lotus is really a kind of water lily and not a true lotus at all, but the ancient Egyptians referred to both of these flowers as “lotus.” The ancient Egyptians named these flowers “Seshen.” The white lotus and blue water lily were both popular offerings in the temples. Scenes of the offering of lotuses can be found in tombs and temples in every region of ancient Egypt, from every period. One record states that 3,410 bouquets of lotus flowers had been given by Ramesses III to the temple of Amun alone. The Hieroglyphic Sign List supplied by Alan H. Gardiner features a hieroglyphic sign (M11), that of a lotus shown bending in imitation of a bowed human supplicant, in the word ‘to offer.’
Because the lotus (and the water lily) are aquatic flowering plants we tend to think of them as corresponding to the moon. Yet to the ancient Egyptians, the lotus had a strong solar association.
According to the creation myth of the ancient Egyptian city of Heliopolis (City of the Sun), a lotus first grew out of the primeval mound of that rose from the inert waters of Nun. The lotus opened, bearing the creator sun God Atum. He rose out of the heart of this primordial lotus, sending out His light into the Cosmos. (One of the later versions suggests that the Sun God emerged out of the petals of the flower as Ra rather than Atum.) The lotus was the symbol of life and of life ever renewed, bearing forth the sun at the dawn of creation.
That the lotus should be so closely associated with birth of all life has a special twist. The fossilized remains of what may be the earliest known flowering plants were discovered in a slab of stone in north-east China and date back at least 125 million years. The fossils reveal a species never seen before, and was named “Archaefructus sinensis” or “ancient fruit from China.” This plant has been called “the mother of all flowering plants.” It apparently thrived in clear, shallow pools and lakes, with its flowers and seeds extending above the waters surface. Based on its appearance and growing habits, scientists believe that the closest modern day relatives would be the water lily and the lotus.
“The Coming Forth by Day” is a series of rites and incantations that often accompanied the deceased in burial. They formed part of the body of work known as“The Funerary Texts” of ancient Egypt. These include the “Pyramid Texts” of the Old Kingdom, the “Coffin Texts” of the Middle Kingdom and other variations found in the New Kingdom, such as “The Book of the Heavenly Cow,” “Litany of Re,” and “The Book of Gates,” etc.; in the latter period of the New Kingdom “The Books of Breathing,” and in the Ptolemaic Period “Book of Tranversing Eternity.” There are many versions of these texts. “The Coming Forth by Day” which is also known as “The Book of the Dead” contains a famous passage about the lotus in Spell 81a and 81b.“The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Papyrus of Ani in the British Museum,”translated by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge (1895) contains the following translation of Chapter 81a which is titled ‘The Chapter of Changing into a Lotus’ :
Saith Osiris Ani: “I am the pure lotus which cometh forth from the god of light, the guardian of the nostrils of Ra, the guardian of the nose of Hathor. I advance and I hasten after him who is Horus. I am, the pure one who cometh forth from the field.”
Raymond O. Faulkner translates this same passage with the title ‘Spell for being transformed into a lotus’ and it reads:
“I am this pure lotus which went forth from the sunshine, which is at the nose of Re; I have descended that I may seek it for Horus, for I am the pure one who issued from the fen.”
A common illustration (or vignette) accompanying this chapter is the head of the solar creator God Atum emerging from the blue lotus flower that rose from the primordial mound of creation, which, in turn, rose from the waters of Nun. The soul of the deceased is identified with the resurrected Osiris, and also with the emerging sun God Atum. This method of identification and/or association of the deceased in some way with a God or Goddess or a sacred symbol of life, such as the lotus, magically aided the regeneration of the deceased.
When the tomb of Tutankhamun was opened in 1922, Howard Carter later reported that the mummy of the boy king was draped with a flower collar made out of blue lotus blossoms. He also found within the tomb a carved wooden statue that represented Tutankhamun as a young boy, his head rising from within a blue lotus, as the God Atum.
Upon the High Mound
Isis and the Lotus of Upper Egypt
“He who emerged from the lotus upon the High Mound, who illumines with his eyes, the Two Lands.” - ‘Hymn to Atum’
The association of Isis with the lotus is not unique in ancient Egypt in one sense. It was not uncommon for ancient Egyptian deities to be depicted with lotus imagery in some manner, the lotus staff being one of the more frequent, along with a papyrus staff, a w3s(was) sceptre and an ankh. All of these symbolize the forces of life and generation. Besides a use in sacred symbolism, the lotus was used in imagery of a more political nature in ancient Egypt. The lotus flower represented Upper Egypt and the papyrus represented Lower Egypt, the two combined in a motif signified the ‘unification of the two lands’ - the kingdoms of northern and southern Egypt united in peace under the rule of Pharaoh.
|Drawing of Sun Temple of Heliopolis|
Isis was one of a group of deities that was originally associated with the northern area of Egypt, most specifically the city of Heliopolis, one of the most sacred religious and metropolitan centers in all of dynastic Egypt. The land upon which this city stood was supposed to contain the original primordial mound. As stated above, it was the Creation Myth of Heliopolis that contained an account of the rising of the solar creator God Atum from the primeval blue lotus from the primordial mound. Isis was a member of the divine Great Ennead of Gods and Goddesses of Heliopolis. The deities of the Ennead were the direct descendents of the creator God Atum. Isis was the great granddaughter of Atum, her parents Geb and Nuit, were the children of the original offspring of Atum, named Shu, the God of air and Tefnut, Goddess of moisture.
The teachings and wisdom of the priests and temples of this city of Lower Egypt, known to the ancient Egyptians as Iunu, were respected from the most ancient of times. This attribution of ‘lower’ may seem strange, for most often one would think of ‘north’ as upper and south as ‘lower’ due to their positions as directions on a compass. The designation of lower and upper in the land of ancient Egypt was based on the direction of the annual flooding of the Nile. The waters swelled and rose, starting at the southern end of ancient Egypt, or Upper Egypt and gradually spread over the whole land, from the fertile strips that lined the banks of the drier regions of the south to the marshy delta of north or Lower Egypt. The flooding of Egypt by the Nile was not an instantaneous happening, it took several weeks to make a way northwards.
One of the many titles of Isis is that of “Creatrix of the Nile Flood.” Fellowship of Isis co-founder Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, in his book “The Goddesses of Chaldea, Syria and Egypt” wrote the following about Isis and her role as a Goddess of the flooding Nile:
“Sometimes Isis is seen as the bed of the River Nile, the river itself representing the parturient waters of the goddess. Sometimes she is regarded as the fertile goddess of the rich plains of Lower Egypt, in this form she is the life-giver, the mother, the nourisher and the healer of mankind. Isis is also seen as a goddess of water and in this aspect...According to Pausanias: “When the Nile begins to rise, the Egyptians have a tradition that it is the tears of Isis which made the river rise and irrigate the fields.” In the early worship of Isis, this goddess appears to have been regarded chiefly in her aspect of a Nature-goddess. By the poets and the philosophers Isis was regarded as the archetype of Divinity immanent in Nature.”
|This map shows the path of the Nile in Egypt, forming a giant lotus|
When seen on maps, the fertile regions of land that were annually flooded by the Nile looked like a giant lotus, whose stem stretched upwards from the southern most region along the strips of land that flanked the banks of the river in the arid portions of Upper Egypt. The fertile flood plain area spread out in the northern delta and flowed into various tributaries that nourished the green marshes in the Egyptian north, fanning into the shape of the blossom of a giant lotus flower seen from the side view.
Isis in her role as the “Creatrix of the Nile Flood”and as the “Bed of the Nile” was directly responsible for the annual renewal of the land of Egypt. On the rising floodtide of the Nile, She brought the Lotus of Life to the land each year, in an act that echoed the beginning of all at the dawn of Creation. The annual flooding of the Nile and the subsequent rising or re-emergence of the land as the waters receded mirrored the rising of the primordial mound out of the waters of Nun. The flood brought not only water, it brought a new layer of fertile top soil which replenished the earth of the fields, and although it also brought decaying matter which could spread disease, these materials later dried out and broke down into fertilizer/mulch which also helped to replenish the soil. Crops could be planted in the dark rich soil of the fields after the floods withdrew.
When the River has Become Full
Isis, the Lotus and the Staff of Life
“…the lotus, for instance, grows in great profusion, and from it the Egyptians make a bread which is able to satisfy the physical needs of the body…” - Diodorus Siculus, “The Library of History”
|The seed pod of a lotus|
Pliny wrote that the ancient Egyptians made bread from lotus seed mixed with milk or water: “There is not any bread in the world more wholesome and lighter than this, so long as it is hot, but being once cold, it is harder of digestion and becometh weighty and ponderous.” - Pliny the Elder, “Natural Histories”
Herodotus supplies a detailed description of the various uses of the lotus as a food source: “…when the river has become full and the plains have been flooded, there grow in the water great numbers of lilies, which the Egyptians call lotos; these they cut with a sickle and dry in the sun, and then they pound that which grows in the middle of the lotos and which is like the head of a poppy, and they make of it loaves baked with fire. The root also of this lotos is edible and has a rather sweet taste: it is round in shape and about the size of an apple. There are other lilies too, in flower resembling roses, which also grow in the river, and from them the fruit is produced in a separate vessel springing from the root by the side of the plant itself, and very nearly resembles a wasp’s comb: in this there grow edible seeds in great numbers of the size of an olive-stone, and they are eaten either fresh or dried.” - Herodotus, Book II, An Account of Egypt, “Euterpe”
Here too, we find the lotus of Isis associated with giving. Gardiner’s List of Hieroglyphic Signs includes a commonly used hieroglyph (D37), which shows an arm and hand holding a stylized loaf of bread, and used in words such as di or redi, meaning “to give.”
“Queen of Philae, the traditional Mistress on the peak of the pure island…” - Hymn to Isis at Her Temple at Philae
“The bas-reliefs on the walls, the intricate paintings on the ceilings, the colours upon the capitals, are incredibly fresh and perfect. These exquisite capitals have long been the wonder and delight of travellers in Egypt. They are all studied from natural forms – from the lotus in bud and blossom, the papyrus, and the palm. Conventionalised with consummate skill, they are at the same time so justly proportioned to the height and girth of the columns as to give an air of wonderful lightness to the whole structure. But above all, it is with the colour – colour conceived in the tender and pathetic minor of Watteau and Lancret and Greuze – that one is most fascinated … Every tint is softened, intermixed ... The pinks are coralline; the greens are tempered with verditer; the blues are of a greenish turquoise, like the western half of an autumnal evening sky.”- Amelia B. Edwards, “A Thousand Miles Up the Nile” (on the Temple of Isis at Philae)
The Temple complex on Philae became submerged after the completion of the first Aswan dam (1906). In the 1970’s the buildings were moved from Philae to a new home on the island of Egilica (also Agilika). The island was specially prepared and even reshaped to resemble the island of Philae. The name Egilica or Agelika means ‘forget-me-not.’
The island of Philae was many things, it was the burial place of Osiris, or the burial place of Osiris and Isis together, it was thought to house a deep subterranean cavern which was the home of Hapi, God of the Nile River. Paintings and drawings of the island of Philae from the nineteen century show lotuses and water lilies crowding the banks of the island. It was described as a pleasant place of great beauty. It brings to mind another hieroglyphic sign from Gardiner’s list, that of three lotuses (M2). They are shown swaying to one side on their long slender stems, wafting upon a gentle breeze blowing from the east, as Shu, the God of Air and Grandfather of Isis, imbues Her sacred flowers with the Breath of Life.
The Lotus Throne
Isis and the Lotus as the Sanctum Sanctorum
“O Lotus belonging to the semblance of Nefertum …” - Spell 81B “The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead” or “Coming Forth by Day”
The lotus is an ancient symbol, with a universal esoteric meaning that is fairly standard in every culture in which it has been introduced. Throughout human history, this flower has been regularly employed in the sacred literature and art of many nations. Clairvoyants have claimed that this uniformity or universal symbolism points to a very ancient origin. They state that the lotus was brought to earth from the star Sirius by Isis - the star that heralded the annual flooding of the Nile through its heliacal rising - the star that is called the Home of the Soul of Isis! There is no other flower outside of the rose that has so captivated the hearts of mystics and spiritual teachers the world over. Helena Blavatsky wrote in her book “The Secret Doctrine” the following about the esoteric symbolism of the lotus:
“It is the flower sacred to nature and her gods, and represents the abstract and the Concrete Universes, standing as the emblem of the productive powers of both spiritual and physical nature … It had, and still has, its mystic meaning which is identical with every nation on the earth ‘the emblem of the productive powers of both spiritual and physical nature.’ ”
Certainly one of the main roles of the Goddess Isis in ancient Egypt was that of the Divine Feminine Principle of Creation. She was often shown as the Holy Mother, seated on a throne, suckling her divine son, Horus. The throne is a symbol of sovereignty, of royalty, of absolute power and symbolic of the ‘source spring’ of power. The three-stepped throne forms the headdress of Isis, whose name has been interpreted as “seat” and/or “stone seat.”
Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, in his book “The Symbolism of Temple Architecture”writes:
“The Latin word ara, a feminine noun, usually rendered altar, in its older form is asa. White and Riddle derive this latter word from the Sanskrit as, asan, (cf. asana) meaning a sitting or seat … Though in later times the altar became associated with death, basically it has no connexion with death, either actual or symbolic. The altar, in the worship of the Goddess, is one of the many forms of her seat … here the potency associated with the altar …”
In ancient Egyptian temples, offerings of food, clothing, flowers, incense, etc. were laid out on an altar to the main temple deity every day. Egyptologists now know that there was a key concept behind this daily act of giving. Ancient Egyptians believed that by offering to the presiding deity that which made life possible (food) and enjoyable (flowers, incense, jewelry, clothing) the supplicant was opening a channel for energy to flow of like kind from the deity. Like attracts like. Our offerings to the altar, the seat or 'source spring' of the Goddess, opens channels to the creative flow. We give to Her and by doing so, we open the door for Her to give to us.
|Blue faience bowl, view of inside center and side|
What is the nature of the power of the throne of Isis? And how does it correspond with the lotus? Votive offerings to the Goddess Hathor (a deity who became closely associated with Isis in the later periods) included bowls with blue water lily motifs, the same flower that was the primordial bloom bearing the sun God Atum at the beginning of creation. These bowls were used in rites to maintain the renewal of life and rebirth. The water offered in these bowls has been likened to several things, the primordial waters of Nun from which all life ultimately sprang, to the waters of the Celestial River of the Field of Reeds, a heavenly paradise of eternal life, and to the water that breaks during the birthing process.
In his book “Egyptian Grammar: An Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs,” the Egyptologist Alan H. Gardiner writes that a water bowl was one of the hieroglyphic symbols for ‘woman.’ Gardiner likens the bowl to the womb, linking symbolism of the blue water lily to female fertility, the power of birth and procreation. Some scholars have speculated that this association links the idea of sexual attraction to the lotus as well.
Along this same line of thought, Helena P. Blavatsky in her book “The Secret Doctrine”has this to say about the lotus:
“The flower of the lotus, which is the bearer of the seed for reproduction, as the result of its maturing, is connected by its placenta-like attachment with mother-earth, or the womb of Isis, through the water of the womb, that is, the river Nile, by means of the long cord-like stalk, the umbilicus. Nothing can be plainer than the symbol … The new born is an ever-recurring miracle, an evidence that within the workshop of the womb an intelligent creative power has intervened to fasten a living soul to a physical machine. The amazing wonderfulness of the fact attaches a holy sacredness to all connected with the organs of reproduction, as the dwelling and place of evident constructive intervention of deity.”
Another quote from “The Symbolism of Temple Architecture” by Lawrence Durdin-Robertson reads:
“The locality of the womb is to be taken as the Most Holy Place … Both India and Egypt have their sacred lotuses, symbolic of the same ‘Holy of Holies’… the Holy of Holies … meant spiritual conception and birth, or rather the rebirth of the individual and his regeneration …”
Helena Blavatsky wrote in “The Secret Doctrine” that “the metaphor of the Holy of Holies of sacred constructions (is) taken from the idea of the sacredness of the organs of generation. Carried to the extreme of description by metaphor, this part of the house is described in the Sacred Books as “between the thighs of the house,” …”
Scenes of the Annunciation show the Archangel Gabriel holding a spray of lilies, sometimes water lilies as he appears before the Virgin Mary. These flowers represent the esoteric properties of water and of fire, creation and generation, in just the same way as the primordial waters of Nun and the solar fire of the lotus of Atum in ancient Egypt. The lotuses held in the hands of the devas who announce to Queen Maha Maya (Mayadevi) that she will give birth to the Gautama Buddha, express the exact same idea.
In nature, before germination, the seeds of the lotus contain perfectly-formed miniature leaves, mirroring within what the seed will one day become. This sacred potential, the ‘lotus seed’ that exists within every soul, every being, if it is nourished by the inner fire of the spiritual sun, will one day rise as perfected being, the divine inner nature revealed at last - the magical Horus child of Isis and Osiris.
The masculine element plays a part too, because just as it takes male and female to create life in our physical world, so it took both Osiris and Isis to create Horus. In the Osiris myth when the scattered pieces of his body are re-united by Isis, there is one member missing. It is replaced by one made of gold. Gold was considered to be the very flesh of the Gods and Goddesses by the ancient Egyptians. The resurrected Osiris as King of the Otherworld, brought forth the seed of life out of death, a life spark that was imperishable, precious and beautiful. Isis, as the Lotus-bearing nurtures this potential ‘Horus seed’ within all of us in Her Sacred Womb as the Great Mother of All. Her ‘seat of power’ is our altar, the place of our giving, Her hearth, our hearts.
“… tell them there is the lotus-bloom in every human soul, and that it will open wide to the light unless they poison its roots; tell them to live in innocence and seek after truth, and I will come and walk in their midst, and show them the way into that place of peace where all is beauty and all are content. Tell them I love my children and would come and dwell in their homes and bring that content which is more than any prosperity, even unto these their hearths of the earth … Egypt must decay; but it shall not decay in ignorance. It shall hear a voice … and the words which that voice utters shall be the hidden heirloom of ages, and shall again be spoken under another sky, and herald the dawn which must break through the long blackness.” - Vidya, Lady of the Lotus from “The Idyll of the White Lotus: A Mystical Novel”
Blavatsky, Helena P., “Secret Doctrine,” Volume One, (three volume set with index) Quest Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1993
Booth, G., "The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian in Fifteen Books, V1, to Which are Added the Fragments of Diodorus," Kessinger Publishing, Whitefish, Montana, 2007
Budge, E. A. Wallis, “The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Papyrus of Ani in the British Museum,”Dover Publications, Mineola, New York, 1967
Claghett, Marshall, “Ancient Egyptian Science, A Sourcebook: Knowledge and Order,” Volume One, Tome One and Tome Two, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1989
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About the Author: Linda Iles is an ordained priestess in the Fellowship of Isis and the Temple of Isis. She is certified and teaches as a head instructor in all branches of the Fellowship of Isis, including the Adepti Spiral, the College of Isis, Solar Alchemy of the FOI Priesthood, Noble Order of Tara and Druid Clan of Dana. Linda is a founding member of the Circle of Isis Advisory Board of the Fellowship of Isis, a member of the Circle of Isis FOI Central Website staff, and a founding member of the Temple of Isis, Geyserville Chapter of the Muses Symposium. Linda undertakes some of the editorial duties for the Mirror of Isis. She has been an active teacher, given presentations at FOI events in Los Angeles and Geyserville and contributed articles, poetry and illustrations for Fellowship of Isis publications for ten years.
"Isis Bearing the Blue Lotus" original art © Linda Iles. The drawing is based on a painting found in the eighteenth dynasty tomb of Sennefer, a mayor of Thebes, on the West Bank at Luxor. Portico of Temple of Isis at Philae, painting by David Roberts, ca. 1838-39. 'Birth House of Isis' painting by David Roberts, ca. 1838-39. Detail of blue lotus from the Tomb of Nakht, Thebes, 18th Dynasty. Atum rising from the blue lotus (waterlily) Papyrus of Ani, 19th Dynasty, British Museum, London. Sun Temple of Heliopolis "The Pyramids of Egypt" I. E. S. Edwards, 1947. Path of Nile map courtesy of Royal Archaeological Institute. Seed pod of lotus photo, public domain. Isis nursing Horus statue, Louvre Museum Paris. Blue faience bowl, modern museum replica.