Isis and Aphrodite and New Age Feminism

Isis and Aphrodite and New Age Feminism
Figure of Isis-Aphrodite, Roman period, 2nd century AD - from Egypt, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

There is a growing literature about the cycles women go through in life, from maiden to mother to crone, just like the waxing of the moon, to the full moon, to the waning moon. Secular feminism has reached back to embrace pagan thinking, pointing out how Monotheism has sidelined women.

Isis and Aphrodite also have proved appealing for their sexual and magical powers. Below is a papyrus image of Isis resurrecting the dead Osiris via fellatio. Behind him is Anubis.


This may not be what New Age Feminism has in mind. So, below is the symbol of Isis known as the tyet ("life"), sometimes known as the "knot of Isis" or the menstrual "blood of Isis" - it seems to identify her with resurrection - powerful imagery for feminism.


Jean Shinoda Bolen has written: "Women raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition have been ignorant of the fact that the God of the Old Testament, the Christian male trinity, and patriarchal monotheism have not existed from the very beginning..." She celebrates "women's current efforts to bring a sacred feminine into religion," arguing that this is not a new invention at all but something that has always gone on through the centuries. (See Goddesses in Older Women, 2001 ).

Below is the temple complex of Philae in Egypt today. Philae was associated with Osiris and Isis until the Byzantine emperor Justinian closed it and re-dedicated its temples to the Virgin Mary. With the invasion of Islam it lost its mystical power. This is not the actual site: the buildings were relocated to higher ground nearby when the area was flooded with the creation of the Aswan Dam.