Mary & PaganGoddesses
by Nisut Mark James


Ritual Lab
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Christianity does have Pagan DNA, of that we are certain. We know that Yeshua can be identified with several of the Great Gods of other pantheons, including:Tammuz of Sumeria, Baal of Canaan, Adonis of Greece, Osiris and Horus of Egypt, and many others. We also know that Mary Magdalene can be identified with each of those Gods’ Brides, including: Inanna of Sumeria, ‘Anat of Canaan,Aphrodite of Greece, Isis of Egypt, and many others. But what about Mary,the Mother of God?

Mary has been perhaps the Goddess most compared with other Goddesses, and certainly she does share one of the many titles of Isis: Goddess of 10,000 Names. Wherever there is a Madonna and Child, there is instantly a connection made to Mary…whether or not that Madonna and Child is even Mary and Yeshua.In fact, the divinity of Mary and her connection with other Goddesses was actually emphasized by the Roman Catholic Church in a successful attempt to convert the Pagans of other areas. We will discuss Mary and her many connections with Pagan Goddesses.

Isis – Perhaps the Goddess that Mary is most easily and quickly identified with is Isis. This is problematic at best, because Isis is actually a Goddess associated both with Mary and with Mary Magdalene. Isis is the Bride of the Slain God (Osiris); in this role, she is associated with Mary Magdalene. But Isis is also the Mother of the Divine King (Horus), and in this role she is most easily associated with Mary. It is clear that, because Isis was the Mother of the Divine King, she does share this parallel at least with Mary. Mary is also often called Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces, and Advocate – roles that could also describe Isis. Isis gave birth to Horus in order to eventually overthrow Set, who had slain Osiris. Yeshua is seen as overthrowing Satan, who ruined the Father’s creation. Because Yeshua overthrew Satan, it was also Mary who participated in this, by giving birth to Yeshua.

Isis Figurine from a Museum collection

Titles that Mary and Isis can share:

– The Great One Who is From the Beginning

– The Divine One

– The Greatest of the Gods and Goddesses

– The Queen of All the Gods

– The Prototype of All Being

– The Lady of Heaven

– The Golden One

– Lady of Joy and Gladness

– Beloved in All Lands

Diana/Artemis – Diana (Artemis in Greek) is another of the Goddesses that Mary is closely associated with. The Acts of the Apostles records Paul’s inability to convert the people of Ephesus, and that they rioted with the battle cry: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” [Acts 19:28]. Diana was very important to the people of Ephesus, so it is of special interest to us that it was at the Council of Ephesus that Mary was declared Theotokos, God-Bearer. Diana was the Goddess of nature, fertility, and childbirth. She was also known for her “Virginity” – that is, she was an autonomous woman, not necessarily that she was a Virgin in our sense of the word. In Stregheria [Italian Witchcraft], Diana gave birth to Aradia, a Savior-Daughter who taught the women of Italy the Old Ways again after Catholicism had taken over. Mary eventually came to replace Diana in Ephesus, and even to take over her temples.

Titles that Mary and Diana can share:

– Great Goddess

– Virgin Queen

– Mother of Mercy

Artemis of Ephesus

Diana, the Blue Warrioress

Demeter – was the Mother of Persephone, and Demeter was known as the Goddess of Grain and from her comes our modern concept of “Mother Nature.”Her mythology tells us that, when Persephone was kidnapped and taken to the Underworld by Hades, nothing could grow on the Earth. Hekate told Demeter that Hades had taken Persephone, and Zeus ordered Hades to return Persephone to her mother. Hades did return her, but before he did he gave her a pomegranate.When she ate the pomegranate, she was bound to spend a third of the year with him. During this time, nothing grows on Earth. This is the Greek way of explaining Winter. This is similar to other mythologies, in which nothing grows on the Earth because the Dying/Resurrecting God has been slain. Mary is the Mother of one of these Dying/Resurrecting Gods; Demeter is the Mother of a “Dying/Resurrecting” Goddess.

Titles that Mary and Demeter can share:

– Barley Mother

– Goddess of the Grain

Kerridwen, Celtic Mother Goddess

Kerridwen – (sometimes spelled Cerridwen), the Celtic Goddess of Wisdom, is also a Mother Goddess. She gave birth to the bard Taliesin, who she also taught her wisdom and magik to. She is also called the Keeper of the Cauldron, thought to be the origin behind the Grail legends.  The grail and cauldron are both obvious feminine archetypes pointing to the womb.  Mary Magdalene is often called the Grail because her womb carried Yeshua’s “blood” in the form of a child by him (or children).  But Mother Mary’s womb was also significant to Yeshua (!), so she might share the Grail aspect with Mary Magdalene, and the Cauldron aspect with Kerridwen.

To experience a beautiful on line Celtic Goddess rosary with pictures and prayers, go to:

It is Kerridwen’s role as Mother Goddess that brings her to our attention.

Mother Goddesses of Northern Europe include Frigg, and Jord.  Friggis pronounced with a long “i” as in the word Friday. She is the patron ofmarriage and motherhood.  Frigg gave birth to Baldur, a golden-hairedson of God (Odin the Allfather is Frigg’s husband).  Baldur is murderedin a treacherous plot perpetrated by a satan-like character named Loki. TheGods and all the people and creatures of the world shed tears for Baldurin a great effort to resurrect him–his brother descends into Hel ready tofetch him back in the event they succeed.  But Baldur is not resurrectedbecause of yet another vile trick of Loki’s.  The beautiful god Baldurstays in Hel (spelled with one “L”) and sits on a throne there, his wifebeside him.   Thus the Northern European peoples awaited the returnof their messiah who will “come again” after a great battle called Ragnarok(similar to Armageddon) and rule over a New Earth. Because of Yeshua’ssimilarities to Baldur, many northern europeans and scandinavians didn’tmind accepting the new mythos from Rome and France and honored Yeshua Kristalongside their gods.  But after several hundred years called the dualfaith period, the edict came up from Rome and other governments that youhad to also give up all heathen and pagan gods.  Many a northern europeanthus became martyrs for Baldur, Frigg, Odin and Thor.

Friday is named in honor of Baldur’s mother, Frigg.  It was called “GoodFrigsday” in the middle ages because Frigg was known for her goodness andvirtue.

Jord, or Eord is Thor’s mother. She is the Scandinavian and northern europeanearth mother.   From her Old Norse/Germanic name comes our Anglo-Saxonword, “earth.” Here’s how the name evolved:  Jord and Eord are bothpronounced Yorth and came to be spelled Eorthe and Eoarthe. Another namefor her was Nerthus. Before long it evolved into our word Earth.  Mostother European languages call the earth, “terra” after another Mother Earthin Greco-Roman mythology named Terra. Thor is also a son of god (All-fatherOdin is his dad, too) and has red hair and a red beard. (Thursday is namedfor Thor).  Nerthus and Frigg(a) are both mentioned in some of the prayerson our Teutonic Prayer Book page

Yemaya – the Yoruba Goddess of Water, is the Mother Goddess of the Yoruba Orishas, or Gods. She is associated with purity and love, and she is often called Star of the Sea, just as Mary is also known by that title. Yemaya is also the Mother of Chango, the Yoruba War God. Just as Yeshua was thought by the zealots to be the War-King of Israel, Chango was the War God of the Yoruba pantheon. Yemaya is also known as the Mother of the Fishes, and the fish is the symbol of Christianity and Yeshua’s name in particular.  Early Christians called themselves “little fishes” before the term “kristiani” was coined.  Mary would indeed be the Mother of the Fishes, then.

Titles that Mary and Yemaya can share:

– Star of the Sea

– Mother of the Waters

– Mother of the Fishes

– Fountain of Life


Questions – Please copy and paste the following questions into a new e-mail, answer them, and send them tothe Mystery School with the subjectline: Shemsu 4 from __________ (your magikal name).

1. Explain how Mary and Isis can both be seen as Co-Redemptrix.

2. How is Isis also associated with Mary Magdalene?

3. Diana was important to the _________. At the Roman Catholic Council in this city, Mary was given the title _________.

4. What Savior-Goddess was Diana the Mother of?

5. What three titles can Mary and Diana share?

6. What Dying/Resurrecting Goddess was Demeter the Mother of? How does thiscompare to Mary?

7. What are the two titles that Mary and Demeter can share?

8. Kerridwen was the Mother of ________.

9. Yemaya is the Mother of what Orisha?

10. What are the titles that Mary and Yemaya can share?

11.  What northern goddess and god pairs illustrate the recurring worldtheme of a mother and savior-son archetype?

12.  Report:  Write a two page report (500 words or more) on anyone of these Pagan Goddesses.  Choose one that appeals to you and tellus about her.  Include the links you use for your research.

13.  Write a comparative essay.  Don’t panic at that essay word. This means type up a nice long email in which you go on and on about one of the pagan Goddesses above and Mary, comparing their similarities and differences.

14.  Laboratory Experiment: Enter the Ritual Lab (below), perform the experiment, then report your results using this

Opening of the Ways Rite LabSheet:

Date Performed:

Time of Day, Place performed:

Status of Moon:

Impressions or Realizations:

How did you like this ancient rite?:



Isidora Forrest, author of the book,IsisMagic, has graciously given our School permission to reprint here and make use of her wonderful ritual, the Opening of the Ways.  Keep in mind the similarities between Mary and Isis and that Mary herself most likely learned this ancient rite during her stay in Egypt.  Both Mary and Mary Magdalene have been called Priestesses of Isis, and our tradition teachesthat Mary was a fulfillment or manifestation of the Great Goddess, also called Isis, “she of 10,000 names.”  The Initiate who secured our permission to reprint this rite is Elda Mildredsdaughter, a friend of Isidora Forrest’s. Elda M. used this rite at the beginning of her Catechumen water-baptism. Indeed it is useful at the beginning of many rituals. For this lab experiment, you should read carefully and then perform the Opening of theWays.  Record and report your results and/or findings by filling out the lab sheet above.  Send it to the Mystery School with your answersor separately.



The Priestess enters the temple, faces East, and bows to the Goddess in respect.

Priestess: I am a daughter of Isis; I am a handmaiden of the Goddess. (Repeating until she feels it to be true.)

Purification & Consecration

Priestess performs purification and consecration of temple and self as desired.Upon completion, she says:

Priestess: Isis is all things and all things are Isis.

The Opening

Standing in the center of the temple, facing East, the Priestess raises herarms in adoration and says:

Priestess: Open, O Heaven! Open, O Earth! Open, O East!
Open, O West! Open, O South! Open, O North!
The gates of Thy temple shall be flung wide for Thee,
Goddess Isis!

She visualizes her aura as a glowing egg completely surrounding the body.She moves to the East and stretches her arms before her, palms together.Then makes a gesture as if opening heavy curtains.

Priestess: Let the shrine of the East be opened unto Isis, only Isis.
(Vibrating) ISET NEF.

She visualizes the Eastern part of her aura becoming as a glowing net-complete,yet open to the Goddess. Next she turns to the South and repeats the entireprocedure.

Priestess: (In the South) Let the shrine of the South be opened unto Isis, only Isis. (Vibrating) ISET ASH.

Priestess: (In the West) Let the shrine of the West be opened unto Isis, only Isis. (Vibrating) ISET MU.

Priestess: (In the North) Let the shrine of the North be opened unto Isis, only Isis. (Vibrating) ISET TA.

She moves to the center once more and extends her arms above her head. Makingthe opening gesture, she says:

Priestess: Let the shrine of Heaven be opened unto Isis, only Isis. (Vibrating) ISET BA.

She repeats the gesture below herself.

Priestess: Let the shrine of Earth be opened unto Isis, only Isis. (Vibrating) ISET KA.

Repeats the opening motion, starting from the heart and moving outward.

Priestess: Let the shrine of the Heart be opened unto Isis, on Isis. (Vibrating) ISET IB.

Let the Priestess visualize doors opening in her heart-chains falling away,shells breaking open.


Priestess raises her arms in adoration.

Priestess: I have opened the ways for Thee, Goddess Isis.

She extends the arms upward and turns them inward, making a ‘cup’ postureand invokes:

Priestess: Come, therefore, Winged One and fill this vessel.
Grace me, Isis, with Thy presence. Enter into Thy House and be with Thy daughter.
O come Beloved One, Great of Magic, Beautiful of Wings, Bright of Face.
Open my eyes to Thine every-where-presence. Awaken my heart to the voice of Thy beating wings.
Make bare my soul to the beauty of Thy Words of Power.

I arise on wings of aspiration to Thee, O Isis.
Come, descend from above, arise from below, expand from within-and be with me, Goddess.
From the rising bud of the lotus, to the mighty branch of the sycamore, to the Moon and Sun which are Thine eyes, to the Stars Which entwine Thy hair, all the Universe is Thine, Isis- as am I.

O Isis, Goddess, Mother, Sister, Queen-the Ways are open unto Thee-I am open unto Thee. I invite Thee to Thy temple now! (Vibrating thrice) ISIS. ISIS. ISIS.

She visualizes the Light of Isis filling the cup she is making with her arms.When she feels it is full enough, she slowly opens her arms outward and lowersthem, letting the Light pour into her aura. Now is the time to commune withthe Goddess or perform other spiritual work.


Standing in the center and facing East, she reverses the opening gestureand visualizes her aura as solid again. She begins at the heart and movesin reverse order.

Priestess: Let the shrine of my Heart be closed.
Let the shrine of the Earth be closed.
Let the shrine of Heaven be closed.
Let the shrine of the North be closed.
Let the shrine of the West be closed.
Let the shrine of the South be closed.
Let the shrine of the East be closed.
Priestess thanks the Goddess, bows in respect, then quits the temple.