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  • Writer's pictureArlene Bailey

Finding Isis: My Journey Toward Sovereignty

What is it about Isis that draws so many to her?  Why after thousands of years does she still create a mystery of awe and power that spins this cocoon around us, holding us as we grow and transform.  Just like a Mother with a child.

When I first discovered the world of Goddesses and nature based spiritual traditions, one of the first questions I was always asked is what pantheon do you follow... which Goddess do you serve?  This was almost invariably followed by I serve Isis.  After a while of this same response by almost every woman I encountered, I actually developed a distaste for all things Egyptian and especially Isis.  I still didn’t have a particular pantheon but, being one who did not like following the herd, I knew I didn’t want to be one more devotee of Isis.  

Over the years I finally discovered that alignment for me was alignment with my ancestral roots which were Celtic.  I still did not serve a particular Goddess for the idea of serving felt too much like aspects of the religion I’d fought so hard to leave.  It would take me many years and, much inner work traveling through various traditions and ideas, to be able to separate enough from the trappings of the religious indoctrination of my youth to find an opening to what worked best for me.

My first actual experience with Isis came during one of my first Shamanic Journeys.  As with all Journeys there was much there, but what I remember - what to this date (almost 20 years later) is still so very vivid - is the image of me being carried in a litter, like a queen, by four men who were dressed in the Egyptian style of ancient Egypt.  This carriage of sorts was extremely ornate and deeply what I called then cobalt blue with gold.  I would later realize it was the blue of lapis lazuli.  I remember the visual being very much an out of body experience as I looked upon the queen who looked like me.  I remember thinking why am I in this thing and dressed this way?  Then I saw her... a woman standing off to the side... a woman looking at me... a woman who, well, looked like the pictures of Isis I’d seen.  A woman who was Isis.  Then she spoke and said you dismiss me, eschew me and possibly even hate who and what I stand for.  But remember.  You were me and I am you.  Then everything vanished and I came out of the Journey.

I remember thinking why Isis???  Why me?  Though visibly shaken, I still had no connection to or resonance with her and could not understand why, of all people, she would come to me in this way.  So I left it all there thinking it was an isolated experience and that was that.

Over the next seven or so years, every now and then Isis would pop into my consciousness in one way or the other, but I still felt no real connection.  Actually, I think I refused to feel a connection because I didn’t want to be the same as everyone else.  Isis was still the main Goddess/Deity most people I met aligned with and I still fought being the same. 

In 2014, I decided to do some personal work with a sister Priestess skilled in Shamanic Breathwork™.  We did several Breathworks over the 5 day intensive, but there is one, like that experience with the Shamanic Journey, that even today still gives me chills.  As I went into the breath I found myself dancing on top of an emerald green knoll overlooking the ocean in Ireland.  It was not unusual for me to begin Journeys or Breathworks this way, always dancing and my red hair flying.  Suddenly I looked to the far right of me and realized the Veil had thinned and I could see to the other side.  I stopped moving and watched as a woman came through the Veil directly toward me.  It was Isis in all her lapis and gold glory walking straight toward me very deliberately and with a huge smile on her face.  Slowly she began to morph into another woman and I remember my breath becoming very erratic and tears flowed down my face as Isis became my Mother.  Both with dark hair and dark features, but the woman who now stood before me was not Isis who had crossed the Veil, but my actual mother who, at that time, had been dead for 36 years.  She embraced me and held me and then faded back into the mist.

It took a long time to process this experience and even today I get weak and weepy.  In my mind’s eye it was so real... is still so eerily real and as though it happened yesterday and in this time and reality.  I could never completely understand why both Isis and my Mother were one and the same and yet separate and different.  Then it came to me... Isis was my mother, both my actual mother and The Great Mother of all that ever has been and ever will be.  That experience completely changed me and allowed an opening for Isis to become part of my life.  I still did not serve or worship her nor take on the Egyptian pantheon, but my heart was able to open and let her in.  My roots are Celtic – Nordic even – and Ireland and Scotland and that lineage and mythology was what felt like home to me.  I had, however, found a way to at least not dismiss Isis or her lineage just because I didn’t want to be like everyone else.  I finally realized I could have my own relationship with this Great Mother.  I thought that was enough and all the first Shamanic Journey and this Shamanic Breathwork™ was meant to be.

Until another Breathwork a year or so later...

I remember riding the breath and immediately being back on that grassy knoll, dancing and hair flying but this time in the blue robes of a Priestess.  Then I was being dragged aboard a ship and sailing for many days away from my home.  I don’t remember many other scenes until the one where I was in a throne room... sitting on the throne... still in blue robes, but instead of the robes of a Priestess, I wore the robes of a Queen. 

Suddenly I was back on that grassy knoll again, dancing with red hair flying.  Once again the Veil thinned and both my Mother and Isis walked toward me, side by side, holding hands, smiling.  This time there were two women, not one morphing into the other.  I smiled too and opened my arms to welcome these Mothers, but right before they got to me they faded back into the mist but not before offering a potent reminder...  Remember Your Mother, Remember The Great Mother.

It was at that moment that I came out of the Breathwork.  I cried for days, longing, remembering, smiling.  Once again it would take months, years even, to sort it all out.  

In the meantime, little isolated things gently introduced me to a deeper place within the Egyptian pantheon.  

First came Bast.  

Then Sekhmet. 

Then once again Isis, but not in a Journey or a Breathwork, but on my canvas, first as The Queen of Herself and then again as the Great Cosmic Mother.

Even so, I still had trouble connecting it all.  Memories flowed in and out until one day I remember smiling for it felt like all the dots, all the different messages and images had finally created a whole.  

Me.  ME!

I was the Whole.

Just as with Osiris, Isis had put ME back together.

It took many years across this and other lifetimes, but this Great Mother kept calling her daughter home.

All those years... 


Until today I thought this was the end of the story.  However, I recently created another painting that was to be a cave wall similar to those of ancient times.  It turned out differently however, with the strangest collection of things demanding to be part of the whole.  One day as I sat looking at the canvas, this cave wall of my lifetimes, it suddenly hit me.  Oh holy wow, now I understood why the pyramids, Sekhmet as a lion and the Tower on the Tor showed up as they did... why there was such insistence that a small Ankh be placed in the section called The Dreamtime.  I had never connected the dots until now, seeing that juxtaposition of things as just strange rather than connected.  Going back to that final Breathwork it all makes sense now.  To do a painting of my lives within lives would never have been complete without the Avalon/Egypt connection that showed up in that last Breathwork.  Had I remembered that, well, things would have been different.  I can only guess I wasn’t meant to have that piece of the puzzle until now.

Even though I was never actually looking, I’ve spent many years Finding Isis and I feel this will continue to happen as I move toward that one last piece...pieces... this Great Mother, as Goddess of Crone Mysteries and Life and Death, continues to hold for me.

Holy Wow.

All those times I wasn’t looking and still She, Isis... Auset Isis... found me.  

Duwa Auset, Duwa*

Finding Isis by Arlene Bailey, ©2020

*Duwa Auset, Duwa –Thou are Goddess the most High (Khemetic)Previously published in On the Wings of Isis, Reclaiming the Sovereignty of Auset, A Girl God Anthology ©2020

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