Sophia - Rite 5. Cancer and Tiamat

Sophia, Cosmic Consciousness of the Goddess

Fellowship of Isis Liturgy by Olivia Robertson

Mystical Awakening of Cancer and Tiamat

Ritual no. 5

Priestess: (Invocation) Benign Goddess Tiamat, Mother of all Creation, Who wert before Light was separated from Darkness and all was One: Thou Who didst give birth to Gods and Goddesses; Lady of the Great Deep, Keeper of the Tablets of Fate, bring us knowledge of our Origin that we may live forever, surviving Thy Cycles of Time and Space.

Oracle: The Dragon of Darkness am I, shining with countless stars. Each Turn of My body bringeth forth a new era of Time, another sphere of Space: yet within My Being do all these cycles survive in Eternal Reality. My first mighty serpent-coil is that of all the galaxies in the Universe. Curled amongst these lieth the Milky Way, pouring from My breasts. Guarded close to My heart is your sun with ten planets, and one of these is the sea-girt earth. My Seven Star-Crowned Heads of Hydra are raised to the Seventh Heaven: yet They reach to the depths of primordial darkness from which all light emanates. From this underworld I create unceasingly from My own Being: and My first-born is Light. Then from the spiritual world I give birth to the Deities; and the first of these is the God Apsu of the sea, My Consort.

Next I draw from the depths all the elements, and from these form My brood made in Mine own Image. They come as whirling atoms and as microbes. They raise themselves to treetops as giant lizards born from My Dragon Shape. The great trees and the grasses are from My Hair. My offspring, who bear My fish's tail, populate the oceans as leviathan and as myraid-coloured fishes swimming between coral forests. I give birth to birds, for am I not bird crested and fly with outspread wings? Howling storms echo My lamentation when My Divine husband the God Apsu perishes in the cycles of time, to be born anew through My Divine Body.

The eleven supernatural Monsters who guard the Gate of the Abyss are My Brood, as are the creatures of the Zodiac. The centaurs and unicorns are of My Zoomorphic offspring, as are serpents who have My wisdom.

You would know Me? Follow Me. I make the path of the serpent on the highroads of the stars. I glide smoothly, now to the left, now to the right, and I rise into the Light of Truth and I sink into the depths of Love. Swim in the oceans as I swim, and gallop with a horse over grassy planes - as I gallop with My Horse's body. Fly to your noblest aim as I fly with my Eagle's wings. Love with your whole heart! Be as original as Omoroka, She who is Myself, the Woman Who created all that is through the Divine Imagination.

Life is One within the diversity of My manifold Being. All dissension ceases, all probings are useless; analysis, sciences and systems of calculation are destructive when these divide My Eternal Being in the minds of men! For My true Being may not be touched, save in the world of delusion. Split the atoms of My shadow-body and you injure yourselves. Dissect the least of my children . . . and you are left with a corpse, and you lose touch with your soul. Return to My immortal embrace that is as encompassing as the salt sea, and you will gain communion with all beings. And in that communion is eternal Peace and Wisdom.

Let the altar be draped in Indigo and Silver. Six lighted candles are on the altar with burning incense, a spiral shell and a star map of Cancer. Before the altar let there be a brazen vessel filled with salt water. Three Priestesses wear silver serpent head-dresses and indigo and silver robes with silver pectorals. Three Priests wear indigo head-dresses with the silver uraeus and indigo and silver robes. Five companions wear indigo robes with hoods over their heads and silver pectorals. They stand in an outer circle around the altar which is marked with six lighted candles.

1st Priest: Companions on the Quest for occult wisdom hidden within the Great Deep. know that the Sign of Cancer was reverenced in remote antiquity. In the fourth month of the Chaldea Duzu, it is the Northern Gate of the Sun whence, at the Summer Solstice, it commences its retrograde movement. With Scorpio and Pisces, Cancer forms the Watery Trigon. To the Coptic Egyptians, this sign was the Power of Darkness of the Jackal Anubis, Guide of the Dead, a Deity of Sirius. It was known as the Dark Sign with no eyes. The Ancient Egyptians knew it as Scarabeus, the beetle Kephera that holds the mud ball of earth. Cancer is depicted as Sacer, the Water Beetle of Immortality, in the most ancient Zodiac known, found in the Temple of Isis in the Denderah Temple of Hathor.

2nd Priest: Cancer was held by the Sages to be the House of the Moon, as the Moon was believed to have been in Cancer at the Creation. It was respected as Horoscope of the World, as the sign nearest the Zenith. The learned Berossos declared that our earth shall be submerged when all planets are grouped in Cancer. The Chaldean Magi and the Platonists taught their disciples that souls descend from Heaven into human bodies through Cancer, the Gate of Humanity.

1st Priestess: There is a deep meaning concealed in the very sign of Cancer, two curved '6' forms embracing each other - resembling the Eastern Yin-Yang symbol of positive and negative energies moving in contrary cyclic paths of the Serpent. Holding Cancer aloft in the sky is the Seven Headed Monster Hydra, sacred to the Chaldean Dragon Goddess of Creation, Tiamat.

2nd Priestess: (offers incense South) I offer incense to Thee, Tiamat, Thalassa of the primordial waters, the Abyss before creation was and from whom all beings are born. Through Thy magical transmutation, Chaos was changed to space and time, and evolutionary hierarchies rise and fall, born of Thee and through Rebirth return again to Thy Womb. The Gnostic Sages acknowledge Thee in the Diagram of the Ophites and see Thy turning Body as the Seven Circles of Archons, within Thy Omoroka, Mother of all existences.

1st Priestess: O Mother of the Gods, O Lady of mankind, Who maketh the green herb to spring up, Who created all things, Who guideth the whole of creation, O Tiamat with Thy Daughter Ishtar, O Thou whose side no God can approach, O exalted Lady whose command is might, a prayer will I utter. That which appears good unto Her, may She do unto us all: O My Lady, from the days of our youth upon this earth we have been much yoked to misfortune. Many have not eaten food and weeping is their nourishment. Water is denied to many; only tears are their drink. Our hearts never rejoice, nor are our spirits glad until all creatures share Thy Bounty and Thy Blessing.

1st Priest: (offers incense, South) I offer incense to Thee, the God Apsu. Aid us act with wisdom and justice in the domain we possess over this earth. If the ruler does not give heed to justice, his people shall be overthrown and his land shall be brought to confusion. If he gives no heed to the law of his land, the God Apsu and Ea, the King of Destinies, shall change his destiny, and shall visit him with misfortune. If he gives heed to the commands of Apsu and of Ea, the Deities shall endow him with true knowledge and discernment.

2nd Priest: We have sinned against the Divine Laws of Nature of Tiamat, and the wise laws of the God Apsu. Our deeds will we declare, our deeds which cannot be declared. O our God, Who art angry, accept our prayer. O our Goddess, Who art angry, receive our supplications, and let Thy spirit be at rest. O our Goddess, look with pity on us and accept our supplication. Let our sins be forgiven, let our transgressions be blotted out. Let the ban be torn away, let the bonds be loosened. Let the seven winds carry away our sighs. We will send away our wickedness; let the birds bear it to the heavens. Let the fishes carry off our misery, let the river sweep it away. Let the beasts of the field take it from us. Let the flowing waters of the river wash us clean.

2nd Priestess: (offers incense East) I offer incense to Thee, Selene, Moon Goddess of Cancer that draweth the tides of the sea. And now, sweet-voiced Muses, daughters of Zeus, well-skilled in song, tell of the long winged Moon. From Her immortal Head a radiance is shown from heaven and embraceth the earth, and great is the beauty that ariseth from Her shining light. The air, unlit before, gloweth with the light of Her golden Crown. Her rays beam clear whensoever bright Selene, having bathed Her lovely body in the waters of the Ocean, driveth Her long-maned horses at full speed, at eventime in the midmonth. Then Her great orb is full and then Her beams shine brightest as She increases. Hail white-armed Goddess, shining Selene, mild bright-tressed Queen. Bring us beauty and surpassing joy!

2nd Priest: (offers incense East) I offer incense to Thee, Poseidon, God of the sea. I sing of Poseidon, the great God, mover of the earth and fruitless sea, God of the deep who is also Lord of Helicon and wide Aegae. A twofold office the Deities allotted Thee, O Shaker of the Earth, to be a tamer of horses and a saviour of ships. Help us as we voyage through the strange oceans of our lives!

3rd Priestess: (offers incense West) I offer incense to Thee, Aine, Daughter of Dana, beautiful Moon Goddess of Eire! Still do Thy devotees bring torches to Thy Hill at Midsummer as the sun enters Cancer. They ask to know their true love, gazing through Thy Ring. Bring us love and joy as Thou didst to the Gaelic Seer, William Sharp: "I too have my memory of the One whom I called Star-Eyes, and whom later I called ‘Banmorair-na-mare’, ‘the Lady of the Sea’. I was not more than seven when one day, by a well, near a sea-loch in Argyll, just as I was stooping to drink, my glancing eyes lit on a tall woman standing among a mist of wild hyacinths under three great Sycamores. I stood, looking, as a fawn looks, wide-eyed, unafraid. She did not speak but she smiled, and because of the love and beauty in her eyes I ran to her. She stooped and lifted blueness out of the flowers as one might lift foam out of a pool and she threw it over me. When I was found, lying among the hyacinths, dazed and, as was thought, ill, I asked eagerly after the lady in white and with hair all shiny-gold like buttercups."

3rd Priest: Greetings to Thee, Moon of Aine, kindly jewel of guidance. I bend my knees to Thee, I offer Thee my love. I raise my hands to Thee, I lift up mine eyes to Thee, Aine of the seasons.

Greetings to Thee, Aine of the Moon, darling of our love. Darling of the Graces, lighteth up Thy face for us, Aine of the seasons!

Greetings to Thee, Aine of the Moon, darling of our love. Darling of the Graces. Thou dost journey on Thy course, Thou doth steer the flood-tides of the sea, Thou lighteth up Thy face for us, Aine of the seasons!

Queen of Guidance, Goddess of Good Fortune, Queen of our love, we hail Thee, Aine of the seasons.

3rd Priest: (offers incense West) I offer incense to Thee, Manannan MacLir, Sea God of Atlantis. We harken to Thy call coming from the deep: I am the Wind that blows over the sea, I am the wave of the ocean. Mine is the purple and green cloak encircling the Western islands. I am He who creates in the mind of the poet dreams of long lost beauty hidden in the depths. Mine is the magical boat, the Roarer that rides the waves. Who will come with me to the lost land of Tir na nOg?

1st Priest: Let us invoke the Guardians of Cancer.

1st Companion: (South) I hail the Guardians of the two Stars, Acubens, claws of the crab. May we be protected from violence.

2nd Companion: (Southeast) I hail the Guardians of Arku-sha-nangaru, Head of the Crab. May wisdom guide our circuitous path through the maze of our lives.

3rd Companion: (Northeast) I hail the Guardians of the Beehive, with its hundred and fifty stars. May we be inspired to work for the good of all.

4th Companion: (North) I hail the Guardians of Tegmen, the Crab's shell. May we enjoy the security of our homes.

5th Companion: (Northwest) I hail the Guardians of Kwan Wei, the Bright Fire. May energy awaken us from inertia.

6th Companion: (Southwest) I hail the Guardians of Al Tarf, the Glance. May we have vision of what is and is to be.

2nd Priestess: (holds up shell) Companions, behold this spiral shell and harken to the murmur of the waves which is your own heart's blood. All take turns and listen as the shell is held to their ear.

Music. Sibelius Symphony No. 1 or his "The Swan of Tuenela", or Wagners ‘Gotterdammerung’ are suitable.

1st Priestess dips her hand into vessel of salt water, and puts it on her own brow.

1st Priestess: Behold this Vessel, symbol of the Brazen Sea of Tiamat. Mother, accept Thy daughter.

1st Priest places salt water on his own brow.

1st Priest: Mother, accept Thy son.

All others present do likewise.

Serpent Dance in which one circle goes left to right and the other right to left. Then a figure eight is formed. Silvery power may be felt all over the body and silver and violet light seen. When power is circulated through all, then all place their hands in the vessel together. A white sphere of light may be seen, formed of twisting spirals of many colours.

1st Priestess: (shows star map of Cancer) Companions, let us contemplate the night sky of Cancer! Coiled through the primordial sea of stars we observe the Seven Headed Monster Hydra, the Dragon Tiamat. Above Her She holds the Crab, the Scarab which holds Marduk with Tiamat. But in the victory of Man over Nature the conqueror pays the price: he loses knowledge of his immortal soul. Below Hydra is the Unicorn and Procyon, Canis Minor, the dog who is friend to humanity. Beyond Cancer shine the Lynx and the Lion and the bear, safe from the Tumultuous Sea of Tiamat . . . Yet - we lick our arms - we taste salt! From the dark ocean we come. Let us in deep contemplation return to our Origin. For only in originality do we truly find our true selves, born of the Mother of All.


Reports of experiences, soul healing is sent forth.

1st Priest: We give thanks to Tiamat and Apsu, to Selene and Poseidon, to Aine and Mananan.


Sources: "Babylonian Religion and Mythology", King, Kegan Paul, 1899. "The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria", Theophilius Pinces, Constable, 1906. "Babylonian and Assyrian Religion", S. H. Hooke, Blackwell. "The Goddesses of Chaldea, Syria and Egypt", "Idols, Images and Symbols: Chaldea and Syria", both by Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, Cesara. "Hesiod", "Homeric Hymns", trans. Evelyn-White, Heineman, Harvard. "A Celtic Miscellany", Hurlestone-Jackson, Routledge & Kegan Paul. "Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race", Rolleston, Harrap, 1911.

Note: "Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning," Richard Hinckley Allen, Dover Publications, New York, first pub. 1899. "Juno Covella, Perpetual Calendar of the Fellowship of Isis", Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, Cesara Publications, and Philips’ Planisphere were used for each Rite.


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