FOI Online Liturgy
The Isis Wedding Rite
By: Olivia Robertson
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The Isis Wedding Rite
Those taking part:
Guardian of the Gate
Bard of the Druids
Two Temple Maidens
Bride and Bridegroom
Priest of Isis
Hierophant: a Priestess
On the altar let there be placed a pot containing burning incense and charcoal; a cup of water; a bowl containing grain and a vessel containing oil or ghee. Let the Temple be decorated with flowers, plants and candles. The participants wear their appropriate robes; and the Bride and Bridegroom also each bring a handkerchief.
Those invited to attend the ceremony assemble in the Temple. Processional music is played. Outside, at some distance away, await the Bard, holding a large book; the Temple Maidens, holding bunches of flowers such as the myrtle; the Priest holding the temple ritual and the Hierophant holding a censer. These enter the Temple, and the Guardian of the Gate follows them inside, and then shuts the doors.
Hierophant and Priest stand left and right of the altar with statue dais of the Goddess, on the dais, facing the assembly. The Temple Maidens stand on either side, the Bard on the left, the Guardian of the gate on the right. The Bride and Bridegroom proceed towards the Temple. End of processional music. The Bridegroom knocks twice upon the door.
PRIEST: Honoured Bard of the Druids, Who is it that seeks admittance to this holy Temple of Isis?
BARD: Reverend Priest of Isis, There are two standing without, seeking to be united in the Rite of Matrimony.
PRIEST: It is well. Worthy Guardian of the Gate, allow them to enter!
The Guardian of the Gate opens the Temple doors.
GUARDIAN: The Priest of Isis bids you enter!
Bridal processional music. Bride and Bridegroom make their way into the Temple, as far as the dais. They face Hierophant and Priest. End of music.
PRIEST: In the Name of the Goddess, She who embodies Love, Beauty and Truth; you two, and all who are here assembled, are welcome.
BARD AND TEMPLE MAIDENS: We welcome you both.
PRIEST: May the Invocation to Deity be made by the Hierophant.
HIEROPHANT (facing East): I invoke Isis of Egypt, and her husband Osiris. May Wisdom and Harmony prevail.
HIEROPHANT (turns South): I invoke Lakshmi of India, and her husband Vishnu. May Beauty and Abundance be granted.
HIEROPHANT (turns West): I invoke Dana of Ireland, and her husband Bres Eochaid. May Joy and Creativity be bestowed.
PRIEST: The Goddess Isis rejoices to come to those who call on Her. Hear the words of Lucius Apuleius, Priest-Initiate of the Mysteries of Isis and Osiris.
(He reads from a book handed to him by the Bard.)
“When I had ended my invocation, at night by the sea-shore, there appeared to me from the midst of the sea a divine and venerable face, worshipped even by the Gods themselves. Then, little by little, I seemed to see the whole of her body, bright and mounting out of the sea and standing before me. First, she had a great abundance of hair, flowing and curling; on the crown of her head she bare many garlands of flowers, and in the middle of her forehead was a plain circlet in fashion of a mirror, or rather resembling the moon by the light it gave forth. Her vestment was of the finest linen yielding diverse colours. Her cloak was utterly dark and obscure covered with shining black: here and there the stars glimpsed. In her right hand she bore a sistrum: in her left hand she bare a cup of gold like unto a boat. The Divine Shape spake these words unto me:"
Hierophant takes a book from First Temple Maiden, and reads from it.
HIEROPHANT: "Behold, Lucius, I am come. Thy prayer hath moved me to succour thee. I am She that is the natural Mother of all things, Mistress of all the Elements, Chief of the Powers Divine, Queen of all that are in Elysium, the Principal of them that dwell in Heaven. I am come to favour and aid thee. Behold, the healthful day is come, which is ordained by my providence." So spake the Goddess Isis.
PRIEST: Strong is Isis to bless those who call upon Her. May She therefore bless this Wedding Rite.
Hierophant turns to the altar and holds the palms of her hands over the pot of incense, the cup of water, and the vessels of grains and oil.
HIEROPHANT: May these elements of Water, Fire and Earth, Air and Aether, be hallowed for this Rite.
Hierophant takes the cup of water and, dipping her middle finger in the water, marks Bridegroom and Bride on the forehead, saying these words to each:
HIEROPHANT: Through this water from a holy well, may true vision awaken in each brow.
PRIEST: Bride and Bridegroom shall now themselves enact the Rite.
Hierophant and Priest exchange places with the Bride and Bridegroom, who now stand facing the assembly on the dais. Soft flute music is now heard.
HIEROPHANT (to Bride and Bridegroom): Together shall you hold a pot of fire. So may you use Creative Will for good.
First Temple Maiden gives Priest the incense pot. The Priest hands the pot to Bride and Bridegroom. Having held it together, they return it to him.
HIEROPHANT: Water now is added to this Fire. Let calm emotion harmonize with Will.
Second Temple Maiden hands the cup of water to the Hierophant, who offers it to the Bridegroom and Bride. Bridegroom and Bride in turn dip the middle finger into the water; then allow a few drops to fall into the pot.
HIEROPHANT: The Element of Air, symbol of Mind, may well combine with Water and with Fire.
Bride and Bridegroom take the pot from the Priest and together hold it high in the air. They move it so that the smoke circulates freely.
HIEROPHANT: Strength and Abundance from the fruitful Earth, must now be added through these grains of oats.
Second Temple Maiden hands Hierophant the bowl of oats. Hierophant proffers this to the Bride and the Bridegroom. Each in turn take a few grains which are dropped into the pot, held for them by the Priest.
HIEROPHANT: Aether, through this oil, blends Water, Earth, Fire and Air. These two Spirits likewise find mutual Harmony.
PRIEST: Now it is needful for the Hierophant to tie the Eternal Knot.
The Hierophant and the Priest exchange places with the Bride and Bridegroom. Bride and Bridegroom produce two handkerchiefs, holding each by one corner. The Hierophant, in sight of the Assembly, takes a loose corner of each handkerchief, and ties a fast knot.
PRIEST: As is the immemorial custom, let us now three times walk round the Holy Fire, following first the Path of the Sun.
The Priest takes a censer and leads Bridegroom and Bride three times round the pot which stands on a tripod before the altar. They move from left to right. The Hierophant follows, also holding her censer.
HIEROPHANT: That their Union be complete, let Bride and Bridegroom alone tread the Path of the Moon.
Bride and Bridegroom alone go round the Fire three times, the Bride leading. They move from right to left. End of flute music.
HIEROPHANT (facing Bridal Pair and the Assembly): In the Name of Isis, of Lakshmi, of Dana, I declare that you are married.
PRIEST: In the name of the Priesthood of Isis, I bear witness that these two are married.
BARD: In the name of the Bards and the Druids of Ireland I bear witness that these two are married.
Hierophant approaches the Bride and Bridegroom and from each she takes the corner of the handkerchief they are holding. She turns to the altar holding the corners in either hand. She places the knot before the image of the Goddess, on the altar.
HIEROPHANT: In this ceremony let us remember the Gods and Goddesses of Ireland. The call of the Sidhe is heard by the souls of those who seek eternal happiness.
PRIEST: Let us listen to the Faery Poem of the Irish God Midir to his wife Etain, Who had become incarnate here on Earth.
Soft music of the harp is heard. Here dance may be introduced.
BRIDEGROOM: (reading from a book presented by First Temple Maiden.)
"O fair-haired woman,
will you come with me to the marvellous land, full of music?
There none speaks of 'mine' or 'thine.'
Pleasant to the eye are the plains of Eire,
But they are a desert to the Great Plain.
It is one of the wonders of that Land
That youth does not change into age.
There all men are noble, without blemish;
There women weave enchantments of joy.
We see around us on every side,
Yet no man seeth us:
The ignorance of humans hides us from their sight.
Oh Lady, if thou wilt come to my strong people,
a crown of purest gold shall shine about thy head."
HIEROPHANT: Women of the Sidhe awaken immortal longings in earthly men. Such a one was Niamh of the Golden Hair. As the mortal Oisin stood upon the shore of Lough Lena, she came to him riding upon a white steed across the water. She bade him come with her to Tir na nOg, the magical land beyond the Western Ocean.
BRIDE: (Reading from a book presented by the Second Temple Maiden.)
“Delightful is the land beyond all dreams.
Fairer than aught thine eyes have ever seen.
There all the year the fruit is on the tree,
And all the year the bloom is on the flower.
There with wild honey drip the forest trees,
The stores of mead and wine shall never fail.
Nor pain nor sickness knows the dweller there,
Death and decay come near him nevermore.
The feast shall cloy not, nor the dance shall tire,
Nor music cease for ever through the hall;
The gold and jewels of the Land of Youth
Outshine all splendours ever dreamed of man.
A crown of sovereignty thy brow shall wear
And by thy side a magic blade shall hang
And thou shalt be lord of all the Land of Youth,
And spouse of Niamh of the hair of Gold."
FIRST TEMPLE MAIDEN: So each to each the man and woman call to that which is the secret wish of all.
SECOND TEMPLE MAIDEN: The veil between the faery world and ours may sometimes vanish for enchanted hours.
BARD: To find the Other - is to find Oneself. All Nature is expressed in one loved face.
End of harp music.
HIEROPHANT (to the assembly): Let us send thoughts of Harmony to all, that they may share our joy. (She raises her hands in blessing, in the Isis pose.) May all beings and existences be blessed: The Sidhe and humans: animals and birds: reptiles, fish-and insects: trees and plants: and every element.
ALL PRESENT: So may it be.
HIEROPHANT (facing East): We give thanks to Isis and Osiris for Wisdom and Harmony.
HIEROPHANT (facing South): We give thanks to Lakshmi and Vishnu for Beauty and Abundance.
HIEROPHANT (facing West): We give thanks to Dana and Bres Eochaid for Joy and Creativity.
With arms raised facing all present. May you go forth with the Divine Blessing.
PRIEST: In the name of Isis so may it be.
First Bride and Bridegroom leave the Temple, then follow the Temple Maidens, the Bard of the Druids, and finally the Hierophant and the Priest of Isis.
The assembled guests follow the Bridal procession, until only the Guardian of the Gate remains.
End of Rite.
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