Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to the Great Mother

Before Princess Diana, Joan of Arc, Mary of Nazareth, or Cleopatra, there was Isis — goddess, lover, healer, mistress of magic, patriot, queen, and mother.

She was the mother of Horus, the god of Kings. Every pharoah of Egypt claimed her as their divine mother, which made her the Motherof Egypt itself. She is often depicted nursing Horus. There is a wide belief that this image served as inspiration for the classic Christian portait of the Madonna and Child.

What did it mean to be the Mother of the God of Kings, who was also known as Horus the Avenger and Lord Horizon?

I tried to imagine how Isis (Iset) reacted when Horus (Heru) informs her about her future motherhood in this snippet from Queen of Heka.

          “I’ve searched a thousand lifetimes for you.” The cocky grin disappeared. “I was there the day you were born, and I knew right away you’d be my mother, Iset wer-Heka.”  
          Iset wer-Heka. Iset great of magic. The epithet perplexed me, but not nearly so much as the idea of mothering a god. That was a million times more frightening than marrying Seti. Maybe if I didn’t acknowledge it.
           “Stop calling me wer-Heka. I have no magic.”
          “Don’t you feel it in your veins?” He peered into my eyes. “Remember when you grabbed my hand in Abydos? You pulled me here. I had no choice; your heka demanded it. Visions are heka. Your talent with herbs is heka. Even this moment is heka; you willed it so.”
. . .
          I asked the easiest question. The one I hoped might liberate me from his expectations. “Why do you need a mother? You’re a god.”
          “I want to know what it’s like to be human,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to know. It’s like you wanting to be an ordinary girl.”
          My chest felt like it was caving in. I was pretty sure no one ever uttered mother of a god and ordinary girl in the same breath. My unruly tongue snatched another thought from the babble in my head. “I suppose you already selected your father.”
          His grin lit the cabin. “Sobek offered. He sometimes comes with me when I watch you.”
          “Sobek? Lord of the Crocodiles?” Really? Someone worse than Seti wanted to marry me? This was getting worse with every answer.
          Heru nodded cheerfully. I made a sound halfway between a squawk and whimper.