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For thousands of years humans have been connecting with the deities and for several decades Isidora Forrest has been devoted to the Goddess Isis. Her first book, Magic of Isis, was published in 2001. According to the author, Part One of that work compiled the scattered pieces of her research and Part Two melded together history and the present realm for a contemporary connection with Isis. In Offering to Isis Forrest takes us deeper into relationship with the Egyptian Goddess of Ten Thousand Names, whose religion was at its height in the second century CE.

 

The first thirty pages of this book are a brief historical account of the worship of Isis. These few pages are fairly dry, possibly a testimony to constraints imposed while trying to pare down the historical sections that are an enjoyable third to half of Magic of Isis. Forrest tells us that Egyptians were extremely aware of the balancing relationship between humans, the spiritual forces and nature. The philosophy and theory of offerings will give the reader the necessary background to understand his or her role in the act of making offerings. While actual nourishment was a primary function of ancient ritual offerings, they were also given as praise or supplication to the Goddess.

 

Forrest provides contemporary examples of daily and weekly rites derived from Abydos, the temple texts at Osiris's great temple complex. These are complex rituals, complete with strategic hand positions. For the beginning devotee the constant referral to a book (which would be required to follow these rituals) could easily slow down and distract from the flow of the ritual. For those more experienced and comfortable with very structured rituals these are perfect. Within the makeup of the heavily detailed rituals real gems can be found for any level. One that I particularly liked was the act of transporting oneself into the ritual mindset by placing one foot onto a tray of sand for entering the sacred space, although I personally would find a tray or space large enough for both feet that would allow me to feel truly transported to ancient Egypt.

 

The true beauty of this book is the Offerings section, which begins on page 95 (this section is awarded less than a dozen pages in Magic of Isis). The author surely had been saving all of her energy for this writing. The details of each adma, an Egyptian word for offering, are resplendent and rich with poetry. For each of the over seventy admas, Forrest provides a simple line drawing which could be used as glyphs. Then an in depth history and correspondence of each, followed by a beautiful invocation.

Unlike some authors, Forrest has not just rehashed her first book. She has taken one small component, yet a very important one, and expanded it for deeper understanding and use. If you are new to Isis or already work with Her, I recommend this book for your library (to be placed next to Magic of Isis). They, in all rights, should be sold as a set. My only complaint is that Offering to Isis isn't a richly bound hardback/cloth edition for my copy will surely become a heavily used and treasured resource.

 

It was difficult to choose an offering example to share. Below is an offering that I found especially beautiful. It is the offering of a Breast. The glyph is a simple up-side-down domed shape with a small nipple.

 

To Isis, a Breast This is a gift the priestess brings before Isis, Sweet of Love, Who takes the world to Her breast: an invocation offering of a golden, breast-shaped vessel.I offer You this symbol of Your own eternal Goddesshood, Isis. I bring before You this breast-shaped vessel, filled with sweet, white milk, sweet as Your lovemaking with Osiris, sweet as Your nurturing of Horus the Child. Yours are the maiden's breasts, carnelian-tipped, honey brown fruits that awaken young men. Yours are the mother's breasts, full, round, upon which children lay their heads and for which lovers long. Yours are the old one's breasts, soft, ripened, an invitation to peace. Yours also are the breasts of the Primordial One, brilliant spiral galaxies against darkest space, pouring forth the Milky Way. Ancient, eternal, ever renewing, transforming, beautiful in depth and wisdom. Such, Isis, are Your breasts.
Listen, O Isis, to the words of the Breast: "I am offered unto Isis as a symbol of miraculous creation. From a body that before did not contain milk - behold! Now comes forth that which is most desired: sweet food, sexual awakening, everlasting life. In me, to be fed, to be loved, to be united with eternity are One. I am the half-circle become whole. I am the mouth, kissed. I am love made liquid. I am the Breast of the Goddess."

To You, Isis, I offer this breast-shaped vessel and all things beautiful and pure. M'den, Iset.
Accept it, Isis. 

~Review by Denise A. Bell

Author: M. Isidora Forrest

Llewellyn Worldwide, 2005

pp.346, $21.95

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