From Jesus to Isis: Journey of a Pagan

An article on my spiritual journey from Christianity to paganism, and the knowledge I gained.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to live in ancient Egypt. Beginning in elementary school, I loved hearing about tribes and earth-based gods during history classes. Sometime, in middle school, I became especially interested in witchcraft and Wicca on my own. I was given a lot of books, so that I could really study it.

At the end of 8th grade, I had to buy a gift for my mom’s birthday. While out shopping with my dad, he agreed to pay for whatever gift I chose for her. I found two necklaces, but one drew me in the most: a little figure of a man in Egyptian garb. The necklace came with a tiny information tag, explaining the figure’s story. It was Osiris. My dad agreed to buy both.

Osiris necklace. Own photo by author.

The Religious Journey

When I was thirteen, I hated my dad and carried a lot of anger in general. I won’t talk about it in this article, but by the end of the year, I had a panic attack worse than ever before. My anger made me nauseous. I prayed for relief and a way to fix things. I tried to resolve things with him. I also decided, on my own, that I wanted to go to church.

My parents chose to raise me Episcopalian; however, the only time of year we went to church was for Easter Sunday. After attending regularly for a while, the minister suggested that I be confirmed. In the confirmation group, I was the only teenager there by their own free will. I felt badly for the others. If they didn’t feel in their heart that it was for them, I didn’t think it right to force it on them.

After confirmation, I found it confusing to try to be Christian while still so influenced by witchcraft; however, I didn’t talk about it to any of the congregation or even my classmates in case there would be judgement. After some time studying, I focused on my Christian beliefs. It was then that I was given an opportunity to join the contemporary choir. We had rehearsals once a week at the church. My voice lessons on the side helped. My coach was thrilled to add it to my practice, since she has always been heavily involved with her own church.

The Call of the Gods

On October 31st 2003, during my Sophomore year of high school, I began feeling drawn back to witchcraft. This time, I wanted to take it more seriously. I wanted to learn it enough to be a skilled practitioner.

Pentacle. Own image by author.

Reading through my books, again, I came to the part that involves dedicating an alter. This took me by surprise because the only deity I was thinking of was Jesus. Who else? For the hell of it, I scanned the index, where there were a few pages of deity suggestions.

While scrolling, I saw the name Isis. I recognized it from the information tag on the Osiris necklace. Something inside of me stopped caring about witchcraft or dedicating the alter or even reading the book. I only wanted to know more about Isis.

Searching the Nile Internet

My research went from basic ancient Egyptian mythology to looking for a modern-day organization for Isis followers. I thought that I needed other people in order to change faiths. One day, my dad took me to the local library, and we asked the librarian. She came across the Fellowship of Isis, founded by Lady Olivia Robertson. From there, I looked for the closest group of Isis followers and contacted a priestess in NYC. We connected, easily. She was raised Episcopalian and sang in a choir, too. In her experience, she was looking for Apollo, but was contacted by Isis, instead.

Since I was a minor at the time, some of my family came with me to meet her. She gave me more literature on Isian paganism, such as devoting an alter to Isis, which made sense at this time. It was a relief and a blessing to have someone like her introduce everything about being pagan.

Isis statue. Own image by author.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

I remember singing a song at rehearsal that proclaims Jesus as the only god. There are so many songs like it that I don’t know if I could find the specific one. Singing it became difficult. I wanted to cry. I didn’t and still do not believe that. Shortly after that service, I called the director of the choir to let him know that I wasn’t going to be coming to church, anymore. I needed to explore my spirituality. He was accepting, but also worried.

When I was fifteen, I had researched more about Christianity and paganism, hoping to find a way to follow both. I had anxiety because of the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” My mom tried to help me look at the commandments as guidelines, comparing it to the code in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl to relax me. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) talks about not taking it literally. He says, “..the code is more what you call guidelines than actual rules.” The line is later rephrased by Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), when she wants Jack Sparrow‘s (Johnny Depp) crew to do the right thing by saving him. Lastly, Mr. Gibbs (Kevin R. McNally) rephrases it one last time at the end of the film when talking with Jack.

Unfortunately, that didn’t calm my nerves.

What did was finding online posts explaining how the link between paganism and Christianity is plagiarism. Christianity stole ancient pagan stories and revised them to reflect Christian ideas; meanwhile, they paint other religions as sinful in order to persuade followers not to question their power. As a Christian, it angered me. I had been told that Jesus was the right way. I had never been allowed or shown other Gods as an option; in fact, it wasn’t until researching witchcraft that I learned they are not only an alternative, but they are the originals of the stories and concepts I was familiar with.

Virgin Mother and Divine Son

The Goddess Isis is the original Mary; however, She is not merely a mortal woman being chosen by a God. She is divine, Herself. Her husband, Lord Osiris had been murdered by their jealous brother Set. She is impregnated by Osiris through supernatural means; in Her case, by using magic with the help of her sister, Nephthys. She gives birth to her divine son, Horus. By giving birth to a God to rule as Osiris did, they have revenge; ultimately, Horus does this by defeating His uncle, once he is of age.

The Princess Bride, anyone?

Symbol of Eternal Life

The ankh is the original symbol for life after death. Personally, mine has been mistaken for a Christian cross, several times. The shapes resemble the male and female sex organs: the uterus and the phallus, but that would be too much gender equality for monotheism.

Ankh necklace. Own image by author.

Unexpected Support

When I was sure that I was done with Christianity, I called the head of my church to let him know. He was always there during my teen years; so, I trusted him. He was not offended, nor did he voice concern that I would get into something bad. He simply said:

“I do not believe that God is just this big man in the sky, pointing to people, telling them what to do. I believe there are many ways to follow Him.”

Wouldn’t it be great if all Christian leaders believed that?

Why Horus over Jesus?

Not to offend Jesus lovers, but I’ve always felt the original is better. The character of Horus is far stronger and more loving than that of Jesus.

No, that isn’t really the reason. That’s a joke.

I connect with Horus because, as with all ancient gods, He’s real. He has imperfections.

Giving the Game Away

Whenever discussing paganism and Christianity with one of my best friends, who is Jewish-Atheist, he always points out the hypocrisy:

“The first commandment says, ‘No gods before me.’ It doesn’t say there are no other gods; therefore, it admits the other gods exist.”

I always love when he says that. The old testament gives power to the other gods by acknowledging their existence; while paganism rejects the existence of Satan because to believe in something would give it power. Not to mention, dualism (God vs. the Devil) is not part of paganism.

A few years after discovering Isis, I was eighteen and officially joined the Fellowship of Isis. Over the years, I have helped new Pagans find their direction when unsure of what to do, first.

Today, almost two decades later, I still prefer the Ennead (Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Isis, Osiris, Nephthys, and Set) to Christianity. I don’t mind if someone follows Jesus, Allah, or practices Satanism; as long as it’s LaVeyan, not theist Satanism because that is stupid!

I’m joking, sort of.

I’ll close this post with the Wiccan Rede: An it harm none do what ye will.

Side Note: For more on the role of Satan in Christianity, please refer to my article “The Devil: Lucifer vs. Satan vs. Satanism.”

Editor’s Note: This was originally posted by this author in 2015 on HubPages. It has since been revised and republished here.

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