An Encounter In Egypt with Isis
Many of my writings explore the issue of what it is like to make connection with the archetypal forces that are often referred to as ‘the spirits.'
In approaching this subject, I am well aware that the whole issue of contact with transpersonal beings is a problematic one for us Westerners because we do not grow up in a culture in which connection with spirits is part of our ongoing experience. In fact many of our fundamentalist religious sects (with great righteousness) warn against having any contact with spirits because they are ‘evil.'
This monumental misconception has generated widespread fear in the populace at large that, in turn, has created separation between us and those transpersonal allies who are poised to help us in various ways.
The atheists even deny their existence altogether... (again with great righteousness.)
Despite these many and varied misguided proclamations and pontifications, allow me to observe that the traditional shamans of the indigenous peoples, as well as those of us ‘moderns' who walk on the path of direct revelation, assert with their/our considerable authority as accomplished visionaries that the spirits, as well as the realities they inhabit, are real.
Our authority comes not from beliefs (in spirits, angels, spirit guides etc) nor does it come from faith (in the existences of spirits, and etc.) We know their existence to be a fact from our direct experiences of them.
The shaman's path is one of direct revelation and there is simply nothing like the direct experience of ‘the spirits' to awaken us from the consensus slumber of culture at large and bring us into the irreversible vortex of personal transformation (also called enlightenment). For this may provide us with a vastly expanded understanding of who we really are as well as where we are headed.
Six years ago (in 2003), I visited Egypt for the first time, excited beyond belief at this opportunity to connect with the transpersonal beings embodied within the temples and shrines. At that time, there was one deity in particular for whom I felt great attraction-the goddess Isis.
I was aware of who and what Isis is in a mythic sense-a goddess who was (and is) the wife of the deity Osiris, the Lord of the Lower Worlds. Isis also played a major role in Osiris' resurrection after his betrayal and murder by his evil brother Set. Isis was the one who retrieved Osiris' dismembered parts and reconstituted him. As such, she serves as a symbolic archetype of healing and reconciliation.... as well as soul retrieval.
Isis was also the mother of their son Horus who would ascend to become the sky god of the Pharaohs, whose embodiment was and is the falcon. As such Isis represents the Great Mother, who with her son Horus served as the source of the Mary and Jesus myth adopted by the early Christians.
For those of you who are shaken by this revelation, allow me to observe that Isis' other Egyptian name was ‘Meri' or ‘Mery'' meaning ‘beloved,' and Horus' other name was Iusa, the source of the name Jesus, making him and him alone the pagan Christos. We will explore this mythic account in another essay.
It is enough to say now that during my visit to Egypt in January 2003, I was only mildly interested in the myth. What I was really going for was connection with the transpersonal force that was and is Isis/Mery.
The Temple at Dendara
On the decidedly warm afternoon of January 8, 2003, our travel group approached the huge temple of the goddess Hathor at Dendara, west of the Nile River in Upper Egypt. On final approach, we could see that the temple's massive stone columns in the vast central hall are capped by the four faces of Hathor, each facing in one of the four directions.
Now in a mythic sense, Hathor, the cow-eared goddess of love, was the historically earlier embodiment of this transpersonal feminine force. Isis came later. In this perspective, Hathor and Isis are actually different attributes of the same transpersonal being. This is why it is often difficult when looking at the temple images to distinguish which goddess is Isis and which is Hathor. The only way of knowing which is which is to read the associated hieroglyph, Isis being represented by the symbol of a three-leveled throne in profile and Hathor by a box (house) with a falcon inside, reflecting her mythic marriage to Horus, the son of Isis.
From the Hawaiian kahuna perspective, Hathor-Isis would be the Egyptian representative of the feminine force of creation whose common name in Hawaii was Wahine and whose sacred name was Uli Uli (Uri Uri in Tahitian).
I mention this because I have come to understand that these archetypal forces have been perceived in much the same way in all the world's mystical traditions. For example the Polynesian healer Lono (once a real man who became a god) may be the one called Quetzalcoatl among the Aztecs, Kukulcan among the Mayans, Aesclapios among the Greeks and Imhotep among the Egyptians. Same archetypal force... different names.
Knowing this, I was curious as to what might be experienced in a great Egyptian temple that embodied the Hathor-Isis transpersonal force.
It happened, but not in the way I expected.
After our tour of the big Hathor temple on that warm afternoon in 2003, I walked around and behind the huge walls of the building where I spied a smaller, ruined structure fashioned of large stone blocks, glowing yellow in the late afternoon light. On asking our guide about it, I was told it was the remains of a shrine dedicated to Isis.
The building appeared deserted, even neglected compared to its monumental companion, yet I felt compelled to approach it. I climbed the steps along one side and stepped onto the shadowed stone platform from which two empty doorways entered into the dark interior of the shrine itself. Both doorways were guarded by the iron bars of two locked gates that excluded intruders.
As I peered through the bars, I could see that the rooms were empty except for the reliefs carved into the walls. There was a niche at the back of the larger room that was empty too, its statuary and treasured power objects long gone to raiders and tomb robbers.
I was by myself, and yet I could feel an unmistakable sense of someone or something there. It was elusive at first, coming and going, just there at the edge of my awareness. I glanced carefully around. I was alone on the ruined portico, nor was there anyone else in proximity to the shrine.
I sat down in the shade, my back against the wall of the shrine, and I closed my eyes. I entered into what I think of as the meditative state. It improves with practice. For long moments, I just sat still, my eyes closed, calming my mind, erasing my thoughts, allowing the inner mystical state to slowly expand within me. It was then that I felt it again... a definite presence.
On impulse, my hands felt for the zipper on my small waist pack, and my fingers extracted a glass crow bead, a blue one, my signature offering. I held it to my lips, eyes still closed, then breathed my prayer to the lady Isis through the hole in the bead, using it as the doorway into the transpersonal realm, offering to her my love along with an account of who I was and my intentions for being there in her shrine.
I waited, holding the bead between my fingers, savoring the moment, then I cracked an eye and tossed the bead through the iron bars into the darkness of her shrine. I smiled, my ritual complete. Then I braced myself against the ancient stone wall behind my back and accessed the high frequency brain-wave states I have described in some detail in my Spiritwalker trilogy.
Allow me to say that I don't really know what it is that I do in these moments. I just intend it and the rest then happens. In response, the blood began to hiss in my ears as the exquisite pressure arrived accompanied by the uncontrollable vibrations of the expanding visionary state.
I felt the familiar soaring feeling increase... increase, growing incrementally as my body commenced to shake as I built up my connection with the mind-blowing energy field that Obi Wan Kenobi called The Force and that the Polynesians call Mauri Ora.
All authentic mystics have experienced it. It is the power of the life force itself.
The transcendent state suddenly expanded within me and possessed me, and while my body continued to vibrate, gripped in the invisible fist of power, it was as though a window in my mind opened and a feeling of utter tranquility enveloped me.
Abruptly and unexpectedly, I descended into darkness... into the velvety blackness of the great void. For long moments my conscious awareness was just there, in that place of utter stillness and awesome silence... a state in which all that ever was and all that will ever be is unified in the now... in a state of waiting, of is-ness, of being-ness...
This place is the state of where the greatest creative work of the universes is manifested. I did not know this when I wrote about my first experience of this place in Spiritwalker.
And then... in response to my intention, I suddenly perceived her... the goddess Isis... yet not as some symbolic woman-form or humanized feminine personification.
A brilliance appeared in the darkness of the void... a radiance that expanded into a moving, flowing mass of effervescent cobalt light that was alive and shimmering. It had depth, like staring into crystal clear blue water, yet it had no boundaries and in a flash, I was in this blue-ness. It was all around me. It merged with me, or I had merged with it so that in those moments, I was the blue-ness. And I was immediately aware that it possessed a vast intelligence far beyond my own.
Simultaneously, her awareness and mine became one...
This is the mystic experience at its absolute best, and it is available to all who choose to achieve it.
During this extraordinary experience, the soaring sensations that gripped my physical body amped up to an entirely new level in response to her connection with me. And there was more.
I have said that this was a very warm afternoon (read ‘hot'), yet in those moments, I suddenly experienced a sudden coolness, like when you open a refrigerator and the cold internal air flows down and outwards over your bare feet...
This is what enveloped me in those moments of vision. I was literally enfolded by a coolness, like a river of blue cold air flowing over me in a wave, engulfing me in a field in which I knew what she knows, I felt what she feels, I thought what she thinks... and in that state, the goddess and I were one.
To say that this was an amazing experience would be an understatement of vast proportions.
I was perceiving her on the one hand as her ‘light beyond the form,' and I was experiencing her directly as ‘the formless beyond the light.' And there was no doubt in those moments that she-the Isis/mother goddess energy-is real.
Then the vision faded as I heard the footsteps of others approaching the shrine and my focus shifted from ‘there' back to ‘here.' Yet the resonance of her grace persisted for several days until I was fully drawn back into my world.
Now here I was, at her shrine behind the temple at Dendara once again almost six years later, on December 9, 2008. As I ascended the stone steps behind the Hathor temple once again, I was expectant, to say the least.
And this time, much to my surprise, there was an Egyptian guard, in turban and galabeya, complete with moustache, who smiled and looked directly into my soul... then unlocked the gates for me on both entrances to the shrine. I smiled and tipped him and he graciously withdrew, leaving me alone.
Wary, I entered her shrine for the first time, allowing my mind to slowly settle. This time my wife Jill was here as well, waiting outside with some of the others of our group, granting me the space to just be with her... with the goddess.
Then as before, I fished in my waist pack-for three blue beads this time-one for me and one for Jill, and one for Sandra Ingerman in New Mexico who had asked me to convey her love to the goddess. I breathed my prayer through the beads then still standing, I placed my hands on the wall, on both sides of the niche in which her statue once stood and closed my eyes.
I offered my prayer (once more) for me and for my wife, and for my friend as well. I felt my fingers discover a deep crack in the stone wall, so I tucked the blue beads there... and then I accessed the high frequency visionary state.
The Second Vision
Once again, I felt her presence expand within my fully aroused consciousness. There was no doubt, no question... It felt familiar this time as something dimly remembered, and I became aware that this was an old transpersonal connection spanning many lifetimes.
In response to this insight, glimpses of the past began to flow through my mind. They were memories of course, but they were not the memories of Hank Wesselman.
‘Then whose memories are they?' I thought to myself as I watched them... and then the answer came. They were being downloaded from my immortal oversoul field-my personal spiritual aspect that resides in the same transpersonal realm in which the Isis field exists. They were originating from my self aspect in which all of my former selves are archived.
I watched enthralled as image after image emerged within my mind, like slides projected upon a screen that flowed with mystical vitality, power and life force. As before, the radiance of her light was a brilliant blue hue and her awareness conveyed a sense of utter acceptance... and a distinctly feminine amusement.
The goddess was amused at my astonished state and my response to what was flowing through my mind... and through hers. Then the imagery suddenly shifted as an issue abruptly emerged from within the memories stored within my own Hank Wesselman mind. It was a recent memory of an event-one of the great betrayals of my life-one that had happened only just the year before.
For many months I had suffered great anguish and grief over this event. I relived it even as I stood there in her shrine, my hands braced against the wall, my body shaking with the force of her presence... then as before, the temperature abruptly shifted as her cool field once again swept down and engulfed me. I was bathed in the cold radiance of her grace... and in response, I felt my grief over this terrible betrayal ebbing away... slowly dissolving in her blue light... going... going... and then gone.
I understood in those moments that when we are dealing with grief, or with issues of violation and betrayal, Isis is the one to whom we must journey... that Isis is the transpersonal ally who graces us with the qualities of forgiveness and reconciliation.
I also understood in those moments that my lady Isis and the Himalayan bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, the Chinese goddess Kwan Yin and the Japanese spirit Kwannon are one and the same.
With this insight, I felt rather than saw, her smile.
Then once again, I heard the voices of some of my companions approaching the shrine and my awareness shifted... and the feelings of force that had held me in their grip simply faded away. I was also aware that I had had a major healing from Isis and the edge of anger that I had carried for over a year around that great betrayal was gone.
My gratitude is beyond description.