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Who is She?

Understood histoicallly, Isis-Fortuna is a composite Goddess who manifested in the cultural ferment of the Roman Empire, primarily representing a pairing of the Great Roman Fortuna with the universalized All-Mother Mysteries Goddess Isis of Hellenic Egypt.

Both have agraian roots, and understood in their totality, both have and reconcile benevolent and fierce aspects. Before they were Empresses, they were Queens, and before that ladies of the manor, and before that, farmer women, wise women and chieftainesses--before that, they were hunters and processors of foodstuffs and all-providing mothers. They embody all the conscious forces that "taught" these roles and skills to humanity, forces that are evolving in and through us, and so they are Mothers of Invention dancing in mysterious relation to the spiritual force called Necessity. If we are to survive, it will be through deepening awareness of the Divine Powers They personify. If we are to know meaning, we do well to plumb the Mystery of their Personhood.

Understood devotionally, Dea Isis-Fortuna is a Divine Person, a conscious mystical force who manifests personally and conducts the devotee-aspirant on a path of deepening initiation culminating in cosmic consciousness, in the Pagan spiritual realization of simultaneous oneness and difference, personal and impersonal, immanent and transcendent, all-pervasive and particular divinity within the embodied self. She is a Mother of the Mysteries, and while She has at least one toe in the East and one foot in Africa, She is somehow very Western and deeply bound up with the energies of Rome that pervade Western culture. She is the unrelenting hub of the cosmic wheel, and also its still axis. She can help us to bridge the gap in history and recover our Western Pagan souls, to walk the many radiating paths that lead to Center, to our own traditional, earth-centered spiritual ways.

Understood mystically, Isis-Fortuna is a Sovereign Divinity, a personification of the Absolute Truth who manifests in this world as the Pattern of Destiny. Her name, from the Latin fero, implies that She is the One Who Brings Forth, the One Who Produces. One of Her aspects, Fortuna Primagenia, is named "Primal Origin." She is linked to all Gods and Goddesses and shares their consciousness; service to Her is service to the Whole. This Sovereign monist consciousness was present in both Isis and Fortuna prior to their cultural synthesis and helps to account for their "merger" in the Roman psyche. She is that irresistible Power other religions know as "the will of God," explicitly or implicitly in charge of such things as abundance, luck, fate, grace, chance, astrology, correspondence, destiny, karma, justice, money, wyrd, dharma, the Way, and the Course of the Tao, the natural flow. Properly understood, the Will of God is the Wheel of Goddess, and both are common weal. to flow is to grow... and to know.

I began to partner with the Goddess Isis-Fortuna in 2003, shortly after returning to my native West Virginia. I was drawn to an image of Her and began to keep a shrine in Her honor, a shrine that gradually evolved into a place of daily offerings and frequent contemplation, a focus imbued with the warm energies of the Mother's Hearth. I was drawn to the fact that She's a merger of the the Hellenic Isis with the Roman Fortuna (and of course the Hellenic Isis represented mergers still deeper in history). This merger is a fact which shows Her balance of eastern and western energies, something that is of value to me as a late Western inheritor of Egyptian and Hindu legacies, as someone who spent a decade studying Hinduism before gradually becoming a Pagan in the mid-to-late 1990s. She is a very ancient Goddess with cave and death-linked aspects as well as Lady Luck, so She links the most ancient Shamanic past with very ordinary contemporary representations.

Dea Isis-Fortuna is an Empress on the Hearth--a very accessible, domestic face of the Universal Mother, both immanently practical and transcendentally mystical; She promises to help harmonize household energies, but also can be approached to bridge the worlds and harmonize the powers of Her Isian parents, Earth and Sky. She is the shining, incarnate moment, She is the numinous shining out of the nourishing, just-cracked fresh egg as it glimmers in the kitchen sunlight, and She is the sublime Mystery of the All. She is amazing, and among Her archetypal powers are both simplicity and regency, plain and august. She seems delighted by the title (or name or invocation or mantra) "Great Good Fortune" and is energetically responsive to alphabetic mantras derived from various spellings of "momma," especially this these two (alone or together):

em oh em em ay, em ah em ah

Dea Dea Isis-Fortuna

(repeat).

What offends Isis-Fortuna? That depends how you approach Her. She's consciously infinite and we customarily are not; like it or not, part of what draws human beings to true Gods is the desire to participate consciously in their greater being--their godliness and immortality. With godliness, human beings are like moths to flame. Some may recoil from physical light or from light verse, but all seek True Light, which is the Gnosis of Being that sustains all things. So, in our limited consciousness we latch onto different aspects of Isis-Fortuna's being, and sometimes confuse them for the totality. We also project our own linguistic and conceptual limitations and limiting expectations--so, in the developing stages of relationship with a Divine One, we comprehend part by part, then we intuit system, then we see the Whole, then we become at-one with the Whole, simultaneously one and different, a sacred persona ensconced in Godhead, immanent and/or transcendent according to Wholy Will. As a kitchen Goddess, Isis-Fortuna may be offended by things that compromise the integrity of the kitchen, like unsanitary conditions. As a Goddess of Right Abundance, She is offended by waste, by greed and by an uncharitable attitude. She embraces the Laws of Ma'at and the classical Roman virtues, all of which have much to teach us today. She is the matron of both thrift and abundance thinking, Goddess of the storehouse and the dispensary. She governs gambling, and perhaps She inspires the madness that waste wealth--but perhaps this also offends Her, or is Her teaching tool--for while She is the matron of luck and sudden wealth, She is also the Quaker businesswoman, the responsible, ethical guardian. To "offend" may really mean to tip the scales of our perception in favor of one of Her attributes, when the spiritual task must in fact be to balance them. Think of a pendulum--to the ancients, this Power could be capricious. The priestesses of Her antecedents governed temples who had the social responsibility of just distribution of wealth. She is the matron of tithes, and hence of all offerings--which makes Her a companion of priest/ess(e)s in their work. She is offended by linear thinking, and reminds us of greater cyclic and cosmic contexts for all things practicality makes us consider linear, like the span of a lifetime or an investment scheme.

Very little lore about Isis-Fortuna remains, except what was created when She spontaneously reappeared during the European Renaissance, the period of the first Pagan revival and the first major attempt to heal the damage of the First Christian Cultural Revolution. Her image survives to body forth Her qualities, however, and to once again place us in touch with Her energies. She survives on coins, in statues--mostly small--and in jewelry. Her artifacts are widely dispersed, however, so She found faithful devotees desirous of honoring Her throughout the Mediterranean region. She often wears the Egyptian crown of Isis (earlier identified with Hathor), bearing cows horns, the solar disk and two stylized feathers. She also stands by a rudder (which sometimes looks more like a plow), on which Her hand gently rests, and usually holds a cornucopia--which can be a literal horn of great measure, or a horn-shaped basket. It is usually laden with fruits of the earth and/or coins. She often stands by, and sometimes upon, a wheel--the wheel can be the wheel of a cart or the wheel of a ship. She is usually matronly and regal, a Roman woman in the crown of her power. Sometimes She wears a Roman tiara rather than the crown of Isis, and in some depictions has the tower-shaped crown worn by the Empress in the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Since little lore remains, these images and Her Holy Name are priceless portals into Her presence, into relationship with Her. And there are some modern representations that carry Her Spirit, made by sacred artists who truly resonate with Her. If one desires to contact Her, Her image, attributes and Name are efficacious: meditate on Her form while repeating Her Name (the ancient pronunciation would be closer to Ees-ees for-TU-nah, a name which yields many rhythmic possibilities). Her crown is sometimes framed by two ears of grain, barley or wheat (if She is identified with beer, She would bear some relationship to Sakhmet).

Historically, She is a universal and cosmic Goddess, deeply linked to the Star Goddess Isis-Sothis (also called Isis-Sopdet and closely related Isis-Amenta, both of whom are crowned with the Star of the Underworld). She is also linked to Hathor and Ma'at and Ba'ast and to various Alexandrian manifestations of Greco-Egyptian godforms in which the combined energies of Isis and various Olympian deities were observed and honored. She is attached to agriculture, the storehouse, animal husbandry, navigation, commerce, gambling, astrology, divination, civic responsibility, natural cycles, herb-craft, chance, synchronicity and weaving. She was given the attributes of Demeter, Juno and Hera, Moneta, Bona Dea and Abundia, not to mention Roman Fortuna and Greek Tyche before Her. One of Her consorts must have been Serapis, one of Her children Harpocrates. She was and remains woven in direct, historical correspondence with all these other Divinities. She is perceived through a rich matrix of associations that developed and "took" over time, and She is one deity form through Whom the Kosmos speaks.

She possesses the attributes of Her sisters in other cultures, like Nu Kua in China and Laxmi and Lalitambika in India, or like Corn Woman in North America. She is related to Gaia, Ge, Geb, Nut, Inanna, Ninhursag. She seems to bear relation to the sign of Virgo, but this may not be an exclusive attribution. She is an Earth priestess, daughter of Geb in the guise of Bona Dea, abundant Mother of All. (It seems that part of the reason She merged with Isis was to blunt the force of chance--Tyche and Fortuna had developed reputations for being capricious, and the cult of Isis-Fortuna seems to have brought more focus to Her nurturing aspects, to the ability of human-natural-divine cooperation to bring forth peace and abundance and mitigate the forces of chance, for She was identified with the power to change destinies and re-order the stars, and the ancient "mystery" novelist Apuleius seems to have seen Her as the "higher self" of the Roman Fortuna. Perhaps the development of the Isis-Fortuna merger, then, represented a deepening spiritual and moral insight in the segment of the empire's population that embraced Her.

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ASPECTS OF FORTUNE

Fortuna

Roman Goddess of Fortune, Abundance, Chance and Fate

from the root fero, meaning "to bring, win, receive, produce or bring forth".

Fors Fortuna

"Bringer of Fortune"

Fortuna Primagenia

Fortuna of Praeneste

First-Born Fortune; Roman Goddess of Primal Origins and Inheritance; Matron of oracular shrine.

Fortuna Huiusce Diei

Fortuna in the Present Day, Fortuna of the Here-and-Now

Fortuna Antiat, Fortuna of Antium

A paired form of the Roman Goddess worshipped as Fortunae Antiates or Sorores Antii, perhaps embodying the dual nature of Luck, good and bad. Matrons of oracular shrine.

Fortuna Augusta

Roman Goddess of Nobility, Sacred Majesty, Divine Poise, Matron of Rome

(She wins the award for "Most Abused by Emperors").

Fortuna Balnearis

Fortuna of the Baths; Matron of Hygiene and Pleasure, Matron of Soldiers.

Fortuna Salutaris

Fortuna of Salvation, of Making-Whole.

Fortuna Redux

Goddess of Safe Returns, especially for Travellers and Soldiers

Fortuna Publica

Fortuna of the People; Fortuna of the Populice

Fortuna Liberum

Fortuna of the Unimpeded and Free. A Goddess of Childhood.

Fortuna Barbata

Fortuna of the Beards, Matron of Male Adolescent Transitions

Fortuna Bona

Roman Goddess of Good Fortune; Divine Spouse of the God Bonus Eventus.

Fortuna Mala

Roman Goddess of Bad Fortune

Fortuna Virgo

Roman Goddess, Fortuna of the Maiden, Matron of Female Adolescent Transitions

Fortuna Felix

Roman Goddess; Fortuna the Blessed, Fortuna the Favorable

Fortuna Tranquilla

Roman Goddess of Calm Seas and Tranquility

Fortuna Serena

Roman Goddess of Serenity

Fortuna Gubernans

Fortuna Who Steers or Directs, "Captain" Fortuna, Fortuna at the Helm

Fortuna Navrilis

Roman Goddess, Perhaps related to Navigation

Fortuna Dubia

Wavering Fortune; Fortune Between the Two Ways

Fortuna Brevis

Brief Fortune

Fortuna Manens

Constant Fortune

Fortuna Mobilis

Fortuna In Motion, Moving Fortune

Fortuna Equestris

Fortuna of Cavalrymen, Horses and Stables

Fortuna Conservatrix

Fortuna the Preserver

Fortuna Mammosa

Roman Goddess; Fortuna Rich in Her Breasts

Fortuna Muliebris

Fortuna of Femininity, Matronly Fortuna

Fortuna Annonaria

Fortuna of the Harvest

Fortuna Belli

Fortuna of War

Fortuna Virilis

Viril or Manly Fortune; attends Career and Marriage Choices, Work Energy.

Fortuna Victrix

brought victory in battle

Fortuna Obsequens

Indulgent Fortuna

Fortuna Privata

Fortuna of the Individual or Householdl

Omnium Dominatrix

A title on some old “Wheel of Fortune” tarot cards meaning “Mistress of House of Everything” (“dominus” meaning “master of the house”).


DIVINE SISTERS AND ALLOMORPHS

Corn Woman

American Indian; Spirit Power of Abundance

Nu Kua

Chinese Goddess of Abundance

Lalitambika

Hindu Goddess of Sugar Cane Harvest

Laxmi, MahaLaxmi

Hindu Goddess of Abundance and Good Fortune

Tyche

Greek Goddess of Chance

Demeter

Greek Goddess of the Harvest

Cybele

Anatolian Great Goddess, Earthly Abundance, Cthonic Revelation

Ninhursag

Sumerian Goddess of the Storehouse

Veltha or Voltumna

Etruscan Goddess of Turning Seasons

Nortia

Etruscan Goddess of Fate

Fausta Felicitas

Roman Goddess of Auspicious Prosperity

Spes

Roman Goddess of Hope

Moneta

Roman Goddess of Forewarning; Goddess of the Mint

Necessitas

Roman Goddess of Necessity; Goddess of the Challenge of "MUST"

Lady Luck

Western Ally of Good Luck

Harvest Maid; Harvest Queen

Western Symbol of Mother Nature, Harvest, Abundance, Autumn, Thanksgiving


Hariti

Buddhist take on many attributes of the Greek goddess Tyche; like Tyche, she is often depicted holding a cornucopia and dressed in Greek attire.

Kangimo

Japanese, Bringer of Happiness

Rosmerta

Gaulish Goddess of Abundance, depicted with cornucopia. Her name means "Great Provider."

Fortune

Anglicized "Fortuna" (Her presence in Britain is attested at Hadrian's Wall, antedating the English Language, and all derivatives of "fortune" come from Her Name).

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