THE ISIS PECTORAL
A STUDY IN SYMPATHETIC MAGIC
I once wrote a paper on this Isis pectoral for an art history class. I chose it because of its particularly fine artist rendering of the evolution of thousands of years of religious and magical mythology. In this, many amulets pertaining to the afterlife are made into one all-powerful Isis amulet, wrought of gold, and embodying enough mystical force to send its wearer safely on his way to his eternal reward.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead calls for a Collar of Gold to be placed on the neck of the deceased on the day of the funeral. Its purpose is intended to give the dead power to free himself from his swathings. The same source requires a Papyrus Scepter, symbolizing vigor and renewal of youth, also to be placed on the neck on the day of the funeral. Here, the Papyrus Scepter is not only held aloft by Isis, but is also another representation of Isis who derives it from her father, the husband of Renenet, the goddess of abundant harvest.
In her other hand, Isis holds the required Ankh, symbol of life, and on her head she wears a crown that looks like Osiris enthroned as he is often depicted when judging the dead. And Isis is herself portrayed in the form of a bird. According to legend, when Isis found the dead body of her husband, Osiris, she hovered over it in the form of a bird, making air by the beating of her wings, and sending forth light from the sheen of her feathers, ultimately calling him back to life with words of power.
Thus, this singular amulet represents the Collar of Gold, the Papyrus Scepter, the Ankh, Osiris Enthroned, and most importantly, the now dominant amulet, Isis, shown wings beating, and with the sheen of gold feathers sending forth life for the wearer. By 550 B.C., Isis had emerged as the dominant goddess of the Egyptian Pantheon, a position she holds through Persian, Greek, and Roman conquest, until finally overshadowed by Christianity.
Who so brilliantly synthesized so many magical elements to create this golden masterpiece, we’ll never know, but in my own way, I have attempted to do something similar in CHANGELING’S RETURN, a fusion of many mysteries, a hero’s journey for the 21st century, storytelling in music and intended to be a motion picture, to be experienced in time like an unfolding dream — or nightmare.
Travis Edward Pike
28 January 2019, Othewrworld Cottage