Isis and the Tree of Life

Reflections on the Galactic Alignment, the Sacred Science of Ancient Egypt and the Kabbalistic Path of Return

By Sharron Rose, Visionary Film Producer, President, Sacredmysteries.com With hieroglyphs by John Nichols, Director, The Institute for Spiritual Archeology

Many have written on the symbolic relationship between the end date of the Mayan Calendar and the Galactic Alignment. This article will focus on the Galactic Alignment of 2012 from a very different perspective, that of the symbolic and metaphorical teachings of ancient Egypt, which formed the foundation and guiding force underlying all of Western mysticism.

Symbols, myths and metaphors, contain within them the potential to arouse numerous intuitive connections and associations within the viewer. Utilized throughout antiquity in traditional civilizations across the planet as part of their esoteric and initiatory teachings, symbols were developed to open the heart and intuitive faculty, to evoke awareness of, contemplation upon and insight into the forces that weave the outer fabric of the universe and the inner fabric of the human being. They were part and parcel of the body of knowledge that is known to us as Sacred Science.

By weaving together myth, symbol, science and contemplation it is my hope to bring you to a new awareness of the significance of the transformative power of the Galactic Alignment from both a personal and universal perspective.

On December 21, 2012, the Earth will line up with the Sun and the Center of the Galaxy. From a symbolic perspective what does this mean? In this article, we will begin to unveil some of the esoteric teachings found at the heart of this Galactic Alignment by exploring the ancient Egyptian myths and symbols associated with Isis and the Center of the Galaxy.

Ab-a en mut-a Auset. My heart, (is of) my mother, Isis.

Once upon a time, in the long lost days of Al Khem, or ancient Egypt, there was a Temple at Sais dedicated to Isis. Inscribed on the altar of this temple were the following words:

“I am she who separated the heaven from the Earth. I have instructed mankind in the mysteries. I have pointed out their paths to the stars. I have ordered the course of the Sun and the Moon. I am queen of the rivers and winds and sea. I have brought together men and women. I gave mankind their laws, and ordained what no one can alter. I have made justice more powerful than silver and gold. I have caused truth to be considered beautiful. I am she who is called the goddess of women.

I, Isis am all that has been, that is or shall be; No mortal man hath ever me unveiled. The fruit which I have brought forth is the Sun.”

Inscription from Isis Temple at Sais

 

For the Egyptians, the Center of the Galaxy was symbolized by the Great Goddess Isis in her role as the Mother of Creation. To them, she was the prima materia and the secret womb of all that is. She represented the source of the great outpouring of cosmic rays, dust and other rare elements that make up the material that our scientists have detected spewing out from the Center of the Galaxy.

The huge gravitational pull of this center produces a vorticular shaped galactic formation that looks to us like a pinwheel. This vortex of stars is continuously emerging from and spinning around the center. The vast curving arms of the Milky Way are formed from the dust and particles that emerged from the Center of the Galaxy. The Center of the Galaxy is so immense that its size is more than one million times larger than our Sun.

Once of the great secrets of ancient Egypt is that the Center of the Galaxy is the secret Sun that exists behind the Sun. In alchemical language the Center of the Galaxy was also called the Black Sun, the Hidden Sun, or the Invisible Sun. It was the secret Sun of the Eternal Feminine, the Soror Mystica.

For the Egyptians, Isis was the creator of all things. They wholeheartedly believed her declaration inscribed at the Temple of Sais over 3000 years ago which also said,

“I, Isis am all that has been, that is or shall be. The fruit that I have brought forth is the Sun.”

But viewed through the lens of symbolic thinking a statement such as this and the image of Isis herself may contain infinite levels of information, hidden to our untutored eyes.

It is worth noting here that the word Sun as written on the Temple of Isis at Sais is spelled S-U-N referring to the great yellow star that nurtures and warms our planet. Egyptian myth tells us that Horus, the divine child seen suckling upon her breast, is the son of Isis and her beloved consort Osiris. But according to the ancient Egyptians, Horus also symbolizes the Sun that shines in our sky. Through this simple use of symbol and metaphor, the Egyptians are telling us that Isis, the center of our galaxy, gave birth to our radiant yellow Sun.

Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, is both the SON and the SUN. Horus is the representative of his father Osiris. The energy of Horus within us, awakened and invigorated by Isis, becomes the rising up of the will to complete the Great Work and attain full enlightenment in this lifetime, a process that the great Egyptian scholar Isha Schwaller de Lubicz called “willed superevolution.” 1 If Isis is the Center of the Galaxy then it is only natural that her son is our Sun.

Centuries later the myth of Isis, Osiris and Horus was recast by the Christians as the Virgin Mary giving birth to the son that redeems mankind. Through this mystic story of the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus, the myth of Isis and Horus, of the Great Mother giving birth to the Child of Light, was reborn into our modern age. It is a strange and fascinating aspect of Christianity, this recasting of the mythic figures of Egypt into new symbolic expressions of the old Gods and Goddesses.

As the teachings of ancient Egypt, the birthplace of the alchemical tradition, spread to Europe, the myths and symbols of the Great Goddess Isis went with them in the form of the Black Madonna. Here we have a beautiful metaphor that explains the Black Madonna’s origins and what she represents. In his masterful magnum opus Les Mysteries des Cathedrales, the enigmatic French alchemist Fulcanelli states,

“Formerly the subterranean chambers of the temples served as abodes for the statues of Isis, which, at the time of the introduction of Christianity into Gaul became those black Virgins, which the people in our day surround with a quite special veneration.” He goes on to tell his readers that the Black Virgins represent in hermetic symbolism, the virgin Earth, which the artist must choose as the subject of his Great Work. 2

Frequently, the Black Madonna’s were made of volcanic, black rock that comes from deep in the Earth. From this perspective the Black Madonna represents the prima materia or first substance, the original substance from which all alchemical transmutation manifested. Thus she arose directly from the very matter that makes up our planet. She holds her son in her arms, exoterically depicting the baby Jesus, but esoterically representing Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris. Hidden deep within the occult mysteries of the Christian tradition we discover a symbolic representation of the Center of the Galaxy giving birth to the Sun.

As we have seen, the inscription on the temple of Isis at Sais states that the fruit she has brought forth is the Sun. Our radiant local star eventually emerged from the dust that escaped the throes of the fiery furnace, which lies at the center of all creation in our galactic neighborhood. Indeed, it can be said that everything that is, all of nature, human beings -even human consciousness -comes originally from this womb of the galaxy. If she is Isis, then our galaxy is the Great Mother, the creative, feminine force from which everything emerges, her pregnant womb continuously giving birth to millions of Horuses, or stars, that shine brightly on her heavenly body. This knowledge of the inner fires and compressed gasses of creation, burned and transmuted in the crucible of her womb lies at the heart of the Western tradition of Alchemy. It is one of the fundamental secrets of this ancient and sacred Egyptian science.

In this beautiful prayer from the Papyrus of Ani the adepts are asking Isis, the universal mother and keeper of the sacred mysteries to awaken within their hearts and open the Star Chamber. From a symbolic perspective the Star Chamber or seat of Isis, is the Milky Way and Center of the Galaxy. On another level it is the pineal center and eye of gnosis (directly felt perception) of Taoist alchemy. In the Indo-Tibetan Tantric tradition, it is the third eye, the wisdom eye, or Dakini eye. It is the secret inner eye that sees in dreams and visions, that sees beyond the veils of corporeal reality.

From a Kabbalistic perspective the Star Chamber is the hidden Sefirah Da’at or Knowledge that lies along the central pillar of the Tree of Life or symbol of the world axis. Da’at is the receptacle for the combined Shakti/Shekhina current streaming forth from the first three Sefirah, Keter the Supreme Crown of God, pure and absolute essence; Hokhmah, or Wisdom, intuitive instantaneous gnosis; and Binah or Understanding, revelatory and creative intelligence. 3 Like a radiant crown of light sitting atop ones head, this trinity of Sefirot channel the divine effulgence directly into the pineal center/star chamber. Whether in its appellation as the Star Chamber, Da’at, or the pineal center, it is the gateway to the union of Shakti and Shiva, the Shekhina and the Holy One, blessed be He, human and divine. When we enter the Star Chamber, the veil is lifted. We encounter the Great Goddess Isis in all her splendor, waiting to bring us face to face with divine reality.

Horus, who is both the son of Isis and Osiris and the Sun, the brilliant star that illuminates our world, also represents the point where the quickening within happens and the drive towards total enlightenment in the current lifetime eclipses all other desires. 4 It is interesting to note that with the birth of Horus, the number of Gods in the Heliopolitan cosmology of ancient Egypt increased from the nine to ten, a sacred number, which symbolizes completion and a return to the beginning. For it is through the opening of the Star Chamber of Isis, and the drive towards full integration as represented by Horus that the aspiration for and reunion with the One Supreme Source is realized. 5

Isis is often pictured holding the ankh or the symbolic expression of the universal spiritual light as manifested in duality. As seen in Egyptian paintings and sculpture it is through the ankh that the vital enlivening Shakti/Shekhina current is transmitted.

 

From the above illustrations, we can see how the ankh is an early representation of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is the glyph or composite symbol that lies at the heart of the teachings of the Kabbalah. 6 Through personal contemplation upon the symbols of Isis, the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and the Hindu Chakra system, some fascinating insights into the nature of the Galactic Alignment have emerged. But to fully comprehend these insights one must understand the ancient Egyptian teaching of “ As Above, So Below” or Antropocosmos; that what manifests in the outer world manifests also within the Earth itself and on the inner realms within our own beingness.

In the Emerald Tablet, the great Egyptian sage Hermes Trismigestos stated, “Tis true without lying, certain & most true. That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing. And as all things have been & arose from one by the meditation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.”

Therefore, in every part and parcel of our reality, there is a great overarching pattern or structure that repeats itself from the macrocosm to the microcosm. In the words of the great Hebrew scholar and writer Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz,

“Man may therefore be viewed as a symbol or a model of the divine essence, his entire outer and inner structure manifesting relationships and different aspects existing in that supreme essence.” 7

The ankh, the Tree of Life and the Chakra system are all symbolic representations of this universal pattern or expression. Each have their unique characteristics but what is most common to them and important in the context of the Galactic Alignment is the central pillar, the central channel or the djed pillar, the direct path of emanation from and return to the divine source.

Looking at the Tree of Life one finds at its base the Sefirah Malkhut or Kingdom, the home of the Shekhina, the ultimate receptacle and full material reflection of the light and energy of the primordial source. Above her one encounters Yesod, the Moon or the realm of emotion, sexuality, the lunar force and ebb and flow of the tides. Rising above Yesod is Tiferet, the Sun, the realm of beauty, the harmonizing principle and basis of the good, the compassionate and the true. Above Tiferet is Da’at, the veiled Sefirah, the abyss, the Center of the Galaxy and seat of gnosis. High above Da’at like a crown of creation is Keter, absolute transcendence, and the supreme unity beyond duality. When the Galactic Alignment occurs on December 21, 2012 the Earth (Malkhut), the Sun (Tiferet), and the Center of the Galaxy (Da’at), indeed, the whole central pillar of the Tree of Life, will be in alignment. This portends a time of great opportunity for humanity.

According to the Kabbalistic teachings of Isaac Luria, as the luminous radiance of the Shekhina poured forth from the divine source, the Sefirot or symbolic vessels of the Tree of Life were unable to completely contain the fullness of this luminosity. Overflowing with this divine radiance, the first three Sefirot, Keter, Hokhmah and Binah remained intact but still overflowed with light. The remaining seven Sefirot were not strong enough to hold this pure light, the Sefirotic vessels were shattered and the light was broken up into sparks. These sparks fell through the metaphysical void into the “Sitra Achra”, the “Other Side”, interpenetrating the world of action and material reality into Malkhut the world of the Shekhina, of Earthly manifestation, of time and space. As moths are attracted to a flame, the sparks attracted layer upon layer of shells/ husks known as the kelipot. The kelipot obscured the light and knowledge of our primordial source. 8

This metaphor has a distinct parallel in the Indo/Tibetan concepts of the kleshas or origins of human suffering. The kleshas, emotional defilements or ‘poisons’ bind us to the endless cycles of death and rebirth. Like storm clouds swirling across the sky obscuring the radiant light of the Sun, the kleshas of ignorance/delusion, anger/aggression, attachment/desire, pride/arrogance jealousy/envy veil the innate clarity of the mind. To achieve true enlightenment one must totally cleanse the mind of these defilements, transmuting them into the enlightened qualities of spaciousness, clarity, discernment, equanimity and all accomplishing wisdom. Through this powerful transformative process the veil is lifted and one is brought face to face with ones true eternal nature.

For in actuality we are eternal beings. We are the reflection of divinity, a fractal representation and mirror of the Divine source. As seeds of the pure light and energy of the Shakti/Shekhina we are the way in which Divinity comes to know itself. We are God/Goddess in the flesh, a materialized, crystallized emanation and embodiment of our Divine progenitor, the outer projection of the divine plenty (Shekhina) into physical reality (Malkhut). We are all unique facets of the complete image of an ever-evolving interconnected universe. Shrouded by the veils of karma, the husks of the kellipot we have forgotten our divine inheritance. Yet once the door is opened to this ancient knowledge, there is the potential for a great transformation to occur.

As maintained in the teachings and practices of all the great wisdom traditions throughout the planet there comes a moment of awakening when the seeker turns her or his heart and mind away from the distractions and noise of the outer world of matter towards the inner world of spirit. Once this occurs, once one begins to recognize the beauty and grace of the larger divine reality, a longing for inner freedom, clarity, integration and re-union arises. Through the process of purification, through devotion, commitment and right action, the soul looks inward and begins to long for its home in the light.

According to the Kabbalists the most important task of every Jew is to participate in the Tikkun or ‘Restoration of the World’. In the Shevirah, the ‘shattering of the vessels’ or fall from grace, each spark of the Shekhina, each soul spark experienced the pain and suffering of separation from the magical bliss of divine union. From one perspective we could say that we fell to bring light to the darkness, enlighten the muck and mire of the prima materia. Transmute the darkness into light. We fell so that we could experience the nature of duality and material existence. We fell so that when the time came, when the final moment of reintegration and enlightenment was upon us, the reunion with the supreme source would be so sweet.

On a symbolic level, the Galactic Alignment represents an opportunity for us to reverse this process. By quieting the mind and listening to the voice of the heart, by discovering the place of silence within and entraining ones heartbeat with the galactic pulse of the Great Mother, the journey begins. In this space of quietude we can begin to seek out, perceive and burn away the layers of darkness that surround us physically, mentally and emotionally. Through the clear light of right action, truth and integrity, through the power of love and compassion, the essential spark or seed of the Shakti/Shekhina is nourished and begins to germinate and grow within us. The hardened husks of the kelipot and kleshas, the negative thoughts and emotions, the habitual patterns and karmic propensities are melted away.

From a Kabbalistic perspective, as this happens the holy waters begin to flow downward from Keter the crown Chakra through the central channel of the body into Malkhut the base Chakra and Earthly realm of the Shekhina to make contact with and ignite the Kundalini Shakti, the Goddess energy that lies within us. Through this contact with the divine radiance the Kundalini Shakti is awakened. In a wavelike serpentine rhythmic flow she rises upwards through the swirling vortexes of the chakras and Sefirot. 9

Upward through Yesod she streams, clearing away the last vestiges of our mental and emotional turmoil, the clouds of confusion that envelope us. Into the heart center Tiferet she surges, the place of grace, beauty and compassion. It is here that the KA, which is on one level the animating force and astral matrix of the physical body and on another level the self or ego with its various personalities is reunited with the BA or cosmic soul. 10 The heart takes wings as the now fully integrated being encounters Da’at, the pineal center, Center of the Galaxy and seat of the Great Mother Goddess. 11 Like the son returning to his mother’s arms, like the bride coming to the marriage bed, the long years of exile have ended and the time of union is at hand. Shakti is reunited with Shiva, the Shekhina is reunited with the Lord God as Isis takes you in her loving arms and brings you home. As your eternal spirit soars from the Earth, to the Sun to the Center of the Galaxy to the divine source your luminous energy body begins to glow with divine radiance. 12 At the culmination, the omega point of this experience, you are transmuted into a shining being of light, filled with the shimmering resplendent power of Divinity. You have now become a fully realized being able to assist all sentient beings on the path of enlightenment.

Traditional teachings throughout the world maintain that in every moment one has the opportunity to encounter and walk this eternal path of return. Yet, as the alchemists stated, there are certain times, which are the most conducive to performing the great alchemical experiment. The Galactic Alignment in 2012 and the years leading up to it hold the promise and potential of the dawn of a new Galactic/Lunar Age that supplants the toxic, dying throes of the Solar Age. This collective moment of opportunity is upon us. It is now up to us to perceive, understand and fully experience its extraordinary transformative power.

About The Author:  Sharron Rose, MA.Ed, is a true renaissance woman. A filmmaker, choreographer/ composer, author, teacher and performer, she has spent the past thirty years working in the fields of education and the esoteric arts to uncover, reconstruct and translate the mystic and symbolic imagery revealed within the heart of the world’s great spiritual traditions into works of art that are meaningful and accessible to modern audiences.

In the realm of filmmaking, Ms. Rose is the writer/director of the documentary films, 2012 The Odyssey and Timewave 2013, producer of Sacred Mysteries forthcoming feature film, Shasta, executive producer of the documentary, Infinity: The Ultimate Trip, creator of the instructional film, Yoga of Light and producer of the films comprising the Sacred Mysteries DVD Collection. These films have brought great insight into mankind’s spiritual heritage as well as the circumstances that have led to the current global crisis. Since 1999, she has been President of the world-wide DVD distribution company, Sacred Mysteries Distribution and it’s new youtube channel, SacredMysteriesTV.

Ms. Rose is the author of the award–winning book, The Path of the Priestess: A Guidebook for Awakening the Divine Feminine (Inner Traditions) and contributing author to the book, The Mystery of 2012(Sounds True). She is currently at work on The Mirror of Hathor, a book and cd based upon her reconstruction of the music and ritual of the Goddess Temples of Ancient Egypt.  For more information:www.sacredmysteries.com, www.sharronrose.com, http://www.youtube.com/user/SacredMysteriesTV

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