Posted by: aediculaantinoi | August 6, 2013

A New Isis Aretalogy

[from Londinium, c. late 2nd c. CE]

I am Isis, Goddess amongst goddesses, and God amongst the gods;

Amongst the councils of the goddesses I have been deemed most fair, both in justice and in beauty;

I have decreed that woman is sufficient unto herself to bring forth children on her own;

I have decreed that the Earth is herself divine, and brings forth as it pleases her;

I have decreed that equality is for all, in manner of life and in manner of death;

I have decreed that law is binding upon all, both gods and mortals;

From Hermes Trismegistus I learned the art of words, and to Hermes Trismegistus I taught the secrets of magic;

To mortals I have given the secrets of becoming divine in the Mysteries;

I have taught mortals and gods the art of becoming diverse shapes of beasts, and how to return to their own forms;

I have brought forth the child Hermanubis, by whom mortals are lead to discover my secrets;

I have brought forth the child Harpocrates, who knows all of my secret rites but speaks them only to those who understand silence;

I have united the disparate parts of my husband, Serapis, who reigns eternal with me;

Some I have favored to become queens and kings over mortals for their justice and piety;

Some I have gifted with the knowledge of the arts and the wisdom of nature for the elevation of their fellows;

With the star Sirius I have established the rising and receding of the Nile at their appropriate times;

I have made islands to rise from the sea and the waves for the habitations of mortals, like Crete and Cyprus, like Sicily and Sardinia, like Britannia and Hibernia;

I cause love to reign supreme in the hearts of mortals, whether it is love for their people, their city, their family, or their friends, whether it is love between men and women or women and women or men and men, or–most rare–the love of those born neither men nor women for others, and the rarer love of others for those born neither men nor women;

I have set down my judgements in the writings of mortals, in law and in poetry, and with Hermes Trismegistus I have taught mortals the knowledge of how to interpret words;

I have protected mortals in their times of exile, both Egyptian and Greek, both Roman and Gaul, both Thracian and Syrian, both Persian and Judean, both Scythian and Chaldean, both Ethiopian and Libyan;

I have given the gifts of ploughing, sowing, cultivating, and harvesting grains of the Earth, and of the knowledge of fruit-trees and vines, and of fishing in the sea and hunting in the wilderness;

With Helios and Selene I light the sky at dawn and at dusk, and through the night from a thousand points in the firmament;

The crafts of the dancer and the singer, the harpist and the flutist, the drummer and the sistrum-shaker, I have taught to mortals for the joy of the eternal gods;

I have taught mortals to cover their heads in grief at mourning, and women to howl forth laments when Death has taken his toll;

I have given to mortals the secrets of oracles, of speaking with the dead, of divining by signs from birds and clouds, and of the dice and the sticks and the stones and the divining from scrolls and books;

I have taught the arts of weaving to spiders, from whom mortals have learned to make nets and fine fabrics for garments both of everyday wear and for the holy mantles of the gods in their temples;

From the fires deep within mountains I have shown mortals how to turn stones into tools, into weapons for war, and into the fine ornaments of kings and gods;

I have crowned the wisdom of Pythagoras and Plato;

I have hidden the lands of Hyperborea and Atlantis from mortals due to their impurity;

I have raised mortals to divinity, like Alexander of Macedon, like Julius Caesar, like Antino–…

[text breaks off]


  1. I’m speechless. I’m also kinda goose-bumpy. WOW.

  2. This is most beautiful, my friend. I’m sure there are words, but they’re beyond me at this time. =D

  3. Hail our lady Isis.

    • Dua Aset!

      I owe you an e-mail…things have become a bit odd for the last few days, but I hope to get to writing you this weekend, if all goes well…

  4. Absolutely beautiful. This is making it into my Saturday evening devotions.

  5. Hello! Could you please tell me where you found this? I couldn’t discover it on a basic google search…Do you know anything about when it was found? Thank you for any help.

    Under Her Wings,
    Isidora Forrest

    • I found it directly from Isis–which, I know, is probably a bit of a let-down, but there you go. 😦

      The virtues of the Goddess–and many other deities–have not stopped from late antiquity to the present, and thus why shouldn’t she have newer aretalogies? Or, at least, that’s the message that I got when I wrote this (completely unexpectedly, I might add–I’ve been wanting to write “more” for Isis for years now, but nothing has ever come until this).

      I look forward to hearing you speak at the EBC next month!

  6. […] Read this story here: […]

  7. […] that subject directly…which may now need some revision). And, of course, rather unexpectedly, this happened a short while back, which was an opportunity of sorts for a virtual introduction (beyond what […]

  8. It’s lovely and I commend you for writing this. It really is beautiful.

    But you have it look as if it’s from “Londinium, c. late 2nd c. CE” – I guess that actually refers to the statue? But it makes it look like the poem is from then. I believe you should re-arrange the page to clarify this. It’s misleading.

    I took the word “new” in “A New Isis Aretalogy” to mean newly discovered, but it’s actually newly written. I don’t mind that it’s newly written. But the label “Londinium, c. late 2nd c. CE” seems to apply to the poem, which is misleading.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting!

      It is written in the style of if it had been from the late 2nd century in London–poetic license, you know! (The poem starts with the subject line…)

  9. Well, I embarrassed myself by telling everyone it was a poem from the 2nd century.

    • Oops! Well, even as great an Isis scholar and devotee as M. isidora Forrest was not certain at first either, so I guess you’re in good company. 😉

  10. […] something of that nature, and then sit down and write “The Orphic Hymn to Antinous” or “A New Isis Aretalogy” over the next few minutes after it. Moments like that are […]

  11. […] I have raised mortals to divinity, like Alexander of Macedon, like Julius Caesar, like Antino… (A New Isis Aretalogy | Aedicula Antinoi: A Small Shrine of Antinous) So can Isis lead one to apotheosis? I believed that was more oftenly sought by followers of […]

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