Prayers to Isis
by: M. Horatius Piscinus
In the second century Apuleius of Madauros wrote the novel The Golden Ass (Metamorphoses). In the story Lucius in transformed into an ass. He prays to Isis for deliverance, She responds and assists him, and he offers Her a prayer of thanks. These three prayers, in sequence, are from Book XI:
Luciusí Prayer for the Assistance of Isis
O blessed Queen of Heaven, whether you are the Lady Ceres who is the original and motherly source of all fruitful things in earth, who after the finding of thy daughter Proserpina, through the great joy which you did presently conceive, made barren and unfruitful ground to be plowed and sown, and now you inhabit in the land of Eleusie; or whether you are the celestial Venus, who in the beginning of the world did couple together all kind of things with an engendered love, by an eternal propagation of human kind, are now worshipped within the Temples of the Ile Paphos, you who are the sister of the God Phoebus, who nourishes so many people by the generation of beasts, and are now adored at the sacred places of Ephesus, you who is Proserpina, by reason of the deadly howling to which you yield, that has power to stop and put away the invasion of the hags and Ghosts which appear unto men, and to keep them down in the closures of the earth; you who is worshipped in divers manners, and does illuminate all the borders of the earth by your feminine shape, you which nourishes all the fruits of the world by your vigor and force; with whatsoever name or fashion it is lawful to call upon you, I pray you, to end my great travail and misery, and deliver me from the wretched fortune, which has for so long a time pursued me. Grant peace and rest if it please you to my entreaties, for I have endured too much labor and peril. Remove from me my shape of mine Asse, and render to me my pristine estate, and if I have offended in any point of divine Majesty, let me rather die then live, for I am full weary of my life.
Aretalogy of Isis
"Behold Lucius, moved by your weeping and prayers, I am come to succor you.
I am She that is the natural mother of all life, mistress of all the Elements, the first child of time, supreme deity, chief among powers divine, Queen of heaven! The principal of the celestial Gods, light of the Goddesses, the uniform manifestation of all gods and goddesses: I, who govern by my nod the crests of light in the sky, at my will the planets of the air, the wholesome wafts upon the Seas, and the lamentable silences below dispose; my name, my divinity is venerated throughout all the world in divers manners, in variable rites and in many names. Thus the Phrygians call me Pessinuntia, Mother of the Gods. The Athenians call me Cecropian Minerva. The Cyprians, in their isle home call me Paphian Venus. The archer Cretans call me Diana Dictynna. The three-tongue Sicilians call me Stygian Proserpina. The Eleusians call me the ancient goddess Ceres. Some call me Juno, by others, Bellona, still others Hecate some call me Rhamnusia. But those who are enlightened by the earliest rays of that divine sun, principally the Ethiopians which dwell in the Orient, and the Egyptians which are excellent in all kind of ancient lore, and by their proper ceremonies accustomed to worship me, do call me Queen Isis.
Luciusí Prayer of Thanks
Most holy and everlasting, blessed Lady, Redeemer and perpetual comfort of human kind, who by your bounty and grace nourish all the world, cherish our lives, and bestow the consoling smiles of a Mother with great affection upon our trials and tribulations. As a loving Mother you take no rest. There is no day or night, not so much as a moment, that is not filled by your mercy succoring all men and women. On land as well as at sea, you are She who chases away all storms and dangers from our lives by your right hand. Likewise you restrain the fatal dispositions, appease the great tempests of fortune and keep back the course of the stars. The gods supernal do honour you. The gods of the earth hold you in reverence. You rotate the globe. You give light to the Sun. You govern the world in time and space. You tread down the powers of Hades. By you the seasons return, the Planets rejoice, the Elements serve. At your command the winds do blow, the clouds do gather, the seeds prosper, and the fruits prevail. The birds of the air, the beasts of the hill, the serpents of the den, and the fish of the sea, do tremble at your majesty. O but my spirit is not able to give you sufficient praise, nor have I the means to offer you acceptable sacrifice. My voice has no power to utter what I think of you. Not if I had a thousand mouths and so many tongues, not in an eternal flow of unwearied declaration could I affirm it. Howbeit, poor as I am, I shall do as a good religious person, and according to my estate, I shall always keep a remembrance of your countenance deep within my breast, and there in the secret depths of my souls shall I keep divinity forever guarded.