Behold, mighty Isis of ancient Egypt soars over the earth, her shining wings softly beating the air, her hair shorn and her robe in tatters, gathering the pieces of her beloved murdered Osiris. She spoke magical words over Osiris’s body and he was made whole and alive. Together they conceived the god Horus who is said to have been born at this time of year, returning in his form as the sun each Solstice.
Millennia later, I find myself feeling as if the world is tearing itself apart. Political conflicts and random violence break hearts and communities while climate change sends chunks of glaciers crashing into the ocean. The Winter Solstice holds many stories of hope and healing, but at this moment I can’t help but think of Isis and her beloved Osiris and their son, Horus.
In fact, it seems to me that Isis’ action of fusing fragments back into a whole and renewing life is a way of looking at the mission of all of us at this moment. We have the means to be one world with a variety of nations, religions and cultures, each being a complementary part of the whole, and we know what we need to do to begin to right the ecological wrongs, but in each case only a global response will work. Like Isis, we need to make a unity out of the jagged shards.
Isis is said to have declared “I will overcome fate,” promising her followers that they would live beyond their allotted time. What made Isis believe that she could conquer death and time itself? Perhaps it came to her as she flew over the world seeking the pieces of Osiris. Maybe it was while she was soaring above our beautiful blue ball of fire, soil, water and life that she began to believe that she could join the pieces and make Osiris whole. As she looked down upon the earth, she was able to see beyond borders, beyond our perceived limitations of our abilities, beyond all that she had been told could never be. She simply saw what needed to be done and did it.
We are told that this time of year is one of miracles. Since the birth of our species, we have gathered in the last days of December to wonder at the return of the light and so many other miracles that we celebrate. There is always that moment before the Solstice when I think, “is this the year when the sun will not return, when we will not be able to say to our children ‘all is well’? Have we gone too far wrong this time?” but yet the days always begin to grow longer and eventually the warmth comes back to the Earth. Like the return of the light, so many miracles surround us every day that we take for granted, whether it is a child growing up to be more amazing than we had ever conceived or rivers becoming clean again after decades of pollution or the tiny baby steps of progress towards justice and equality that add up to what would be considered a miracle to those who began the fight so many years ago.
How many times have you accomplished something because you had not believed the people who told you couldn’t? I bet more than you would imagine if you really think about it. We are all Isis at times, working miracles and bringing back to life that for which part of us had no hope and part of us refused to give up hope. The earth needs us all to be Isis at this season of both wonders and great violence to each other and our planet. What fractured pieces in your part of this world need to be made whole, though you know it’s impossible? Will you strap on your Isis wings, help them come together, and bring them back to life anyway?