The Queen of My Self

By Carolyn Lee Boyd

The end of December is almost upon us. As we celebrate more familiar traditions of rebirth, renewal and the return of the light, let us not forget ancient Egypt’s Goddess Isis. As you may know, Isis deeply loved her brother and beloved, Osiris. Their brother Set murdered and dismembered Osiris, then scattered him across the land. Isis, in her desolate mourning, gathered up the pieces, remade Osiris’s body, and conceived their son, Horus, who is said to have been born around the time of the Solstice.

I wish I were like Isis, dashing around the globe picking up fractured bodies, minds, and souls and making all beings whole. Instead, right now, I am Osiris. I am at the edge of being a “queen,” of an age and coming into the life circumstance of greater freedom and life experience to be queenly. Still, I find I am still too much a dim and wavering shadow with unhealed and unintegrated fragments of my being lying here and there in too many times and places to resolutely ascend to the throne of being wise, confident, and effective.

If I were to send Isis off on a journey to recompose my scattered pieces, I would send her to my 20s to reclaim the sense that every object, building, street in the city I then called home, was infused with a vibrant magic that faded with more responsibility and less time to dream; to scout out the hiding place of the belief from my gentle childhood that love is the natural law of the universe after witnessing too many ordinary people obeying only the law of fear; to rescue the lightness of life that vanished after too many medical diagnoses that promised only pain and death rather than hope among family and friends who deserved better. She would return with a collage of people, all with my face, but yet not me, in different eras, from all directions. She would come to know me better than myself, yet still not be able to answer the question “Who is she?”

But, in the end, the Isis I have been envisioning does not come when I call. There is only me, the all of me and none of me that walks through daily life feeling too wounded and unfocused to be the strong and powerful woman I imagined I would be by my age. As I go over Isis’ story over and over in my mind, I begin to wonder, “Perhaps the gateway to being a queen is deciding that I will be Isis myself instead. Maybe crowning myself and going in search of my fragments is the gravity that will draw them to me.”

I envision myself and Isis melting into one another. I rise into the air to go in search of little bits hiding in my own memories, conscious and unconscious. When I see myself and my life from the outside, as Isis would, when I do not look only at what I have chosen to remember most, but all that really happened, the vision changes. As a child, I always walked my own path and saw what others didn’t see, whether that was a future for myself beyond the suburbs or spirits out of the corner of my eye. Could it be that what I now perceive as a lack of magic is simply over-familiarity with living on different levels of reality as part of daily life? As I grew older, I became more aware of the violence from which so many suffer each day, but I also have met hundreds of people putting their minds, souls, and bodies between attackers and strangers. How could I have forgotten them? As I come closer to the present, when so many people I love have passed over into death, I remember again the happiness and fulfillment of their decades of life and our time together rather than their last weeks of physical dissolution.

As I see my life through the eyes of Isis, she who brings together and sees the truth, my story becomes whole. I begin to no longer feel bereft and barren, but rather, my vision of myself expands like a Goddess rising through the air and seeing not just the room she was in, but the whole neighborhood, city, continent, and world from the heavens. I see that my task is not necessarily to change who I am, to become someone else or to return to who I was when I was younger, but to begin to incorporate all my experiences into who I am, leaving no moment behind, no matter how insignificant it may have seemed when it was being lived.

So often when we read stories of goddesses, we don’t think how their experiences would transform them. Perhaps when Isis travelled near and far to seek and gather up Osiris, she too, experienced an expanded vision of herself and her mission. We so rarely wonder why a goddess gives such abundant gifts to us. Could it be that Isis’ acts of healing for humans, so much that she even vowed that those who worshipped her could outlive their destined span of years, was the result of seeing both the misery and promise of humans on her journey? Of seeing that she was a goddess beholden to the whole world?

As I gaze with my Isis eyes upon the world, I see how it, too, has become dismembered and desperately seeks restoration to life. We began as one people and adventured out to the distant continents, growing apart in geography and custom until now when we are consumed by our differences. Our faith in ourselves, justice, and the certainty of our survival lies scattered on battlefields, abandoned villages where victims of genocide used to live, and melting icecaps. Whole cultures are disappearing, leaving empty chapters in our human story.

We must all be Isis to recover and heal the broken body of our wholeness as humans. For my part, I can try to begin looking through eyes that have seen the planet and all who dwell on her as one being. When I read of wars and starvation in a land far off, I can say to myself “that is my home, too, and those who live there are parts of me” and provide whatever support I can. What I write can express a greater horizon that will show how all our fragments are really all of one piece, that what one woman experiences is a reflection of everyone’s life on Earth.

Through Isis’ supreme act of love for Osiris, she became a great healer to all who worshipped her. We live in a time when healing is our generation’s great task. Before we can restore our planet to environmental health, before we can reweave the bonds between nations and peoples, before we can truly progress as a species, we must heal ourselves and those around us. By looking at ourselves and the world through Isis’ eyes, we, too, can make this the season we truly become queens and queenly healers.

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