(Essay and Poem) Becoming a Priestess of Isis by Jayne Marie DeMente

Jayne Marie DeMente, MA WS @ CIIS

Book:  Feminine Reformation; a goddess meta narrative.

Founder of www.womensheritageproject.ning.com

Co-host, online radio show, www.blogtalkradio.com, search Creatrix Media Live

Director, Harlots Film Consortium: Matreya; the promise of a dark goddess. A rock opera.

Priestess of Isis, Fellowship of Isis, Iseum of the Nubian Moon, https://sites.google.com/site/fellowshipofisiscentral

Recently, I was Ordained as a Priestess of Isis and the experience was as mystical or magical as one can imagine.  I was asked by Dr. Helen Hwang to write about the encounter so, as with many sages before me, I had to contemplate how to put this transcendental occurrence into real words. 

J DeMente

To begin, the Fellowship of Isis (FOI) is some 50 year old association begun by Olivia Robinson and her brother, who created a new Isis body of Liturgy and Rituals.  I became aware of it when I met Hierophant Anniitra Ravenmoon of the Iseum of the Nubian Moon in Long Beach, California.  At the time, I was the co-founder of Magdalene, a Women’s Spiritual & Cultural Arts Center in NoHo, California.  We met at one of the Women’s Heritage Project thea/ology classes.  We eventually became both friends and co-hosts of Creatrix Media Live, a monthly online radio show, interviewing guest experts on various topics of ancient and contemporary women’s spirituality, cultural arts and feminine social justice.

During one of the radio episodes, when we were interviewing a guest, Isidora Forrest, regarding Isis, I brought up Nebhet’s December ritual.  No-one online seemed to know much about it, and Anniitra, in true Priestess mode, decided to assign me the task of finding out more about this ritual practice.  It is from this pearl of wisdom within Raven’s heart and in the heart of the Nebhet story itself (Egyptian Book of the Dead), that I began to feel energy towards entering into the fold of Isis.  Until then, I pretty much followed the Hebrew Goddesses: Asherah, Lilith and Mary/Magdalene.  Of course, having graduated from a Women’s Spirituality Program, at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California – I was aware of the other goddesses belonging to most ethnic groups, but I personally felt “guided” by these archetypes.  As I read about Nebhet and this special December 26th ceremony, led by Nebhet for her sister/sister-in-law Isis to renew the Priestess Queen and all the Priestesses of the temple, I experienced how women form sisterhoods or sister bonds.  I missed ritual in my academic life and felt a real pull to become part of FOI.  I really loved the fellowship between the other members as we met to re-enact this special ritual.  I appreciated the various spiritual skills that each member brought to this now beloved occasion.  Before I could voice these thoughts, Raven, again in MaMa Priestess mode, decided she was going to “train me” to be a Priestess of the Iseum of the Nubian Moon!  Well, there you have it ~ the beginning of a journey that made me lighter and light-hearted.

Every step was like a miracle.  Carla Jones-Alt, a generous-souled member, offered her beautiful home for the ordination and agreed to be my guardian.  Regina Barton, early LA Feminist and art curator, gave me a Moroccan robe with a matching fairy wand and I found a spiral pronged tiara at the Wymon Spirit Winter Goddess Festival in Long Beach; I was ready!  Four skilled friends: Tantric Instructor Meloney Hudson (Positive Energy Woman), Rev. Catherine Wright, special FOI member Pat Taylor, and FOI Foremother Linda Isles (Bast; Cat Goddess of Ancient Egypt) called in the four directions.  Meanwhile, Carla guarded over me in another room.  De Traci Regula (The Egyptian Scarab Oracle) sang and I meditated.  When it was my time, Anniitra called us in and as I entered the warm, fragrant room, I felt the dichotomy of being light as air but grounded and aglow.  Stephania Ebony, as scribe, read my dedication to the Goddess. The love and support of guests were from the ancient but heartfelt bonds of sisterhood.  Carla planned a sumptuous sit-down dinner that followed the ceremony that still makes my mouth water.  Storyteller Gillian Cameron regaled us with one of her always entertaining and insightful pieces.  Kat Robb placed the photos she took on Facebook and Regina made Raven and me photo memory books.  Lastly, but certainly not least, our leader, Laura Janesdaughter (not attending due to health reasons), sent along a dozen irises to grace the altar.

I believe that Anniitra sensed my need for community and I have to thank her – this passage had a profound effect on me and when she asked, I did not hesitate to accept.  A recovered Christian, a confirmed Jew, I am usually a more cautious person about joining groups.  If I were to analyze this event further, I would describe it like trying to define love: When someone asks you why you love her/him, it’s just indefinable in words.  I can tell you that not much is required to join FOI other than to be a good person, love your sisters, honor the mother, love the earth, and participate in your community.  You also will be asked to choose other deities to honor and guide you, under the umbrella of Isis.  You don’t have to give up anything, feel bad about yourself, exclude others, be rigorous or change your diet or friends – just imagine!  Lastly, I look forward to the future and what a community of sisters like this will add to my spiritual journey.

Blessed Be.

Deep in your warm waters

Stardust impregnated your womb

And I was born…

Bonded to you then

Remembering you now

Oh Joyful Mother’s Day!

I knew you as Creatrix, moon, sun and stars

And sat in your tree of wisdom among

The snakes and birds –

I smelled the air

And became strong, conscious and loved…

I was almost destroyed when you were scarped

And I was left helpless at the soul of violence

Oh, unhappy knowledge…

I have walked such a dry road –

But I have found you…

And we wept; as did Persephone and Demeter.

May your winged spirit soar free and

Your story be told and peace be in your body

Before we are all stardust…

Amen with joy, Oh found Mother.

By Jayne Marie DeMente