Ancient Hymns to the Great Goddess

“Both the keys to the gates of the Underworld as well as the guarantee of resurrection were in the hands of the Goddess.
The initiation itself was like a voluntary death and a gracious salvation.”

Apuleius on his initiation into the Mysteries of Isis,about 200 AD (Metamorphosis XI,2)

“I say Hail to the Holy One who appears in the heavens!
I say Hail to the Holy Priestess of Heaven!
I say Hail to Inanna, Great Lady of Heaven!
You Holy Torch! You fill the sky with light! You brighten the day at dawn!
Awesome Lady of the Anuna gods, crowned with the great horns!
Mighty, majestic and radiant, you shine brilliantly in the evening, you brighten the day at dawn.
You stand in the heavens like the Sun and the Moon.
Your wonders are known both above and below.
To the greatness of the Holy Priestess of Heaven:
To you, Inanna, I sing!”

Akkadian hymn to the Great Goddess Inanna (2334-2218 BCE)

“Giver of wealth! Queen of the gods! Lady Hermouthis, the Ruler of All! Good Fortune! Isis of the Great Name! Exalted Goddess, discoverer of all life!
You put your hand to mighty works of all kinds, so as to give life and an ordered society to mankind. You introduced laws so that there might be a measure of justice. You revealed sciences so that men might live decently. You discovered the flowering nature of all fruitful plants.
For you the Sky came into being and the whole Earth, the breath of the breezes, the Sun with its welcome radiance.

All mortals who live on the limitless Earth, Thracians, Greeks and foreigners, utter Your Glorious Name, which all honor,
each in his own language, each in his own land.
Syrians call you Astarte, Artemis, Nanaea. The tribes of lycia call you Mother of all Gods, Greeks call you Hera of the lofty throne, and Aphrodite, kindly Hestia, Rheia and Demeter…
My Lady, I shall not stop hymning your mighty power, Immortal Saviour, Goddess of the Many Names, Almighty Isis!

All who are held in the destiny of Death, all in bondage, all who are racked with pain which will not let them sleep, when ships are wrecked and men lose their lives, all these find Salvation if they pray for your present help.
Hear my prayers, you whose name has Mighty Power, be propitious to me and free me from all affliction.”

Hymn to Isis

“Oh, All-Nature, Queen, Mother of all things, untiring Mother, exalted, creating, She who tames all, Unmentionable, shining, the Firstborn who quenches everything, who brings the Light! Born of yourself, present everywhere and all-knowing You Blessed One, who makes things grow and rot, Father and Mother of all things, Universal Worker, you who walk forth in an endless maelstrom, conserving, you who uphold yourself through repeated metamorphosis: I pray to you, give me peace!

Orphic Poem to Demeter

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