By Elizabeth Doyle
Isis – Long ago in Egypt, the mother of all nature and magic was Isis. Her religion spread all the way to Greece and beyond. Compassionate and devoted to her family, she was frequently depicted with her son on her knee. Her most famous story involves putting her husband back together after he’s been torn to pieces by an enemy. There was sometimes both a sensual side to her worship (because of her role as a wife and partner) and an entreating side to her worship (because of her gentleness and compassion as a mother.) She had by far the strongest magical powers of all of the Egyptian deities, and was summoned the most often in people’s magic spells. Her temples from Egypt to Italy to Iraq continued to be places of worship well into the first several centuries AD. But in the end, decrees were put out to destroy them all, and a huge number of them met that fate. Here’s a portion of “The Song of Isis” by the incomparable David Heath. Click here.
Brigid – She’s been both a Celtic goddess and an Irish Catholic saint. The goddess named Brigid was a goddess of poetry, and a keeper of all things “high” (from high thoughts to high flames to high mountains.) When Celtic lands were converted to Catholicism, a Saint Brigid emerged who is thought by many to be a new version of the Goddess, Brigid. High priestesses tending sacred flames was a long-standing Celtic tradition. And today, Saint Brigid is often honored by the keeping of never-extinguished flames. In one spot in Ireland, nuns tend the flames of St. Brigid full-time. Here is a song to Brigid (pronounced “Breed” in Gaelic) by Beverly Frederick: Click here.
Kwan Yin – She’s either a Chinese goddess or a Buddhist boddhisatva or a Taoist Immortal, depending on your religious beliefs. No matter which she is, Kwan Yin (or Guanyin) represents compassion. She’s the one who “hears the cries of the world.” She feels for us all and has mercy. Her legend began in China, but today, she is also popular throughout East Asia. Because of her deep kindness, she is often associated with vegetarianism, and some think that she particularly looks after women and children. Here’s a nice song about her by the silky-voiced Lisa Thiel. Click here.
Top photo: Arrivée en bateau au temple de Philaé, Assouan, Égypte; arriving by boat at the Philae Temple, Aswan, Egypt. / Image taken by Gilles RENAULT /Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license. / Wikimedia Commons
Second photo: Fuzzypeg / Early Celtic La Tène style in Britain. Date: 50 BC – AD 50. 36 cm diameter. British Museum highlights /Wikimedia Commons / British Museum / Public Domain
Third photo: Statue of Kuan Yin, Ming Dynasty, by Chaozhong He, photographed by Mountain at the Shanghai Museum. / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. / Wikimedia Commons