What Isis Sang as She Passed Him Through the Fire, and On Becoming a God by Tawni Waters

What Isis Sang as She Passed Him Through Fire*

My baby daddy was a golden phallus.
My palace is three-billion lightyears high,
hewn from the bones of the first bonsai tree,
lighted by the gleaming eye
I tore from Satan’s skull
the day I stole his head.
My towers reach far beyond the sky 
as you know it.

I am a splendid magic thing,
bride of the eternal king.
Those stars up there?
Sweat drops I wiped
from my inner thigh
so I could wear them in my hair.

I won’t just make your blood pound.
I’ll reverse its course. I’ll reinforce
your bones with stone. My kiss
will bring you to your knees,
give you visions and dreams.

Your screams of ecstasy will echo
‘round the Milky Way. Turn night to day.
I’ll remix your heartbeat,
turn your breaths into heat waves,
your groans into serenades.

Though my song buckles your spine,
this love of mine will be the thing that saves you,
turns your cringing peasant into a king,
your stammering coward into a fearless, evermore thing.

I’ll teach you the true religion of the catacombs.
You’ll meet Osiris on his feathered throne.
Isis injection.
Kid, I’ll infect you with resurrection.
You dig? Though you die, yet shall you live.

Death is a mask.
Yank it off.
Sing for your life.
Make me your eternal wife.
Even my lies are true.
Swallow my fire.
Incinerate your facade.
Your golden core will emerge unburned.
Mortal child, exit my flames a


*On Becoming a God

The story of Isis and Osiris is first and foremost a tale about love and courage conquering death.  It is the quintessential resurrection myth. Isis spends years wandering the world, searching for the body of her beloved murdered husband Osiris so she might resurrect him.  She finds his body in an enormous tree, which has grown beautiful and tall because it is infused with Osiris’s perfect essence. The tree is so glorious that the local king cuts it down and takes it to his palace to be used as its central pillar.

Ever devoted to resurrecting her husband, Isis goes to the house where his body is now sequestered and presents herself as a nursemaid for the queen’s son.  Isis falls in love with the child and decides to gift him with divinity.  To make him a god, she must pass him through an eternal fire.  She sings as she does so, casting a loving spell to make the boy an immortal thing.  As she is doing so, his mother comes into the room.  Terrified, she runs to pull her son from the fire.

Isis reveals herself then as the Great Goddess and explains that she was attempting to turn the child into a god.  It’s too late for the child though–the spell has been broken because he left the fire.  He will live and die a mortal man.

This is a small fragment of the complex and beautiful tale of Isis and Osiris and the part that is speaking to me today.  I love the story of Isis and Osiris because to me, it holds so many beautiful secrets.  To become a god–to become something other than a mortal, mundane thing–one must pass through the fire.  One must be willing to face the terror of the unknown, let go of his moorings, throw himself off the cliff of safety into the fiery arms of the unknown.  If one flinches, pulls back, clings to that which is safe, one will never become the golden thing that lives inside.  The price for an illusion of safety is high.  The coward will live and die an unremarkable, shimmerless thing.

I wrote this poem as an homage to the process of letting go, embracing pain and fear and mystery instead of fleeing them.  I wrote this poem as a love songs for all the divine ones trapped in shrouds of fear.

About Tawni Waters