ISIS...ISIL...What is in a name

The power of LOve - ultimately...

written by Alana Fairchild.

ISIS, ISIL, Daesh … the terrorist group known by several monikers, one of them being the same as the name of the ancient Egyptian goddess of ten thousand names, my beloved Isis.

I could say this was a coincidence, but I don’t believe in coincidence. My faith is in an ultimate order, in synchronicity and in the evolution of love, ever at work, even when appearances suggest otherwise. So then, what is this about? The teaching stories of Isis are about the triumph of love, and the ability to bring forth life, even in the aftermath of terrible evil. Destructive behaviour that does not respect life is the antithesis of what Isis is about, and it is also the very thing that calls forth her presence, her intervention, her assistance - because when darkness appears to prevail, her strategy of overcoming evil through love is most needed.

To use her name as a label for a terrorist group could be considered disrespectful, perhaps particularly for those that love her. Something like what it might feel like for Christians if a new chemical weapon was developed by a terrorist group and the media decided to refer to it as the “Holy Spirit”. Not exactly ‘culturally sensitive’, but then I rarely look to the media for lessons in sensitivity or - I must say - intelligent debate. I look instead to people, to you and I, to how we choose to live and respond to what is happening in our world. So perhaps you want to use a different name when referring to this group. You may prefer to use ISIL instead of ISIS, as Barack Obama tends to do. However I believe there is more grit in this, more for love to do, than simply choose a different name.

This particular group is Islamic apparently, though I have no doubt most Muslims would claim that what they are doing has nothing to do with the real Islam, similar to the response of many Muslims to the recent siege incident in Sydney. Speaking up is essential for love to triumph. We need to respond to darkness, we don’t need to fear it, we don’t have to turn away from it. Love gains power when we dare to speak and define what we will bring to the world through how we choose to live. The people that responded to the recent Sydney Siege with love, an attitude of healing and a willingness to band together to create a safer sense of community have been speaking their truth about how they want the world to be. A truth about the power of love to overcome the actions of those that do not honour life. This is the real truth of Isis, and her legacy of love and empowerment in the world.

You see we are not subject to the definitions that anyone - let alone the media - would choose for us. If the media portrays the world in a particular way that may sicken you, think upon it. Question it. What do you want to make of it? Do you want to feed that viewpoint, or nourish something that is empowering, that involves each one of us in co-creating something else? Because we do have the power to do that, to not only dream of a different world, but to bring it to life. The constructive responses of many people to the Sydney siege show that we are starting to recognise our power and use it, as a community.

In the story of Isis, she is confronted by great evil in the form of her step-brother, Set. Filled with jealousy, he sets forth to destroy everything that Isis loves. He even seems to be winning for a while. Ultimately however, Isis will not allow for his victory because she refuses to give up her trust in love. She just won’t allow for fear and hate to take root in her and through that course of action, love prevails, and Set is defeated.

Isis is known for her intelligence and even - in a loving way - her cunning. So I don't get caught up in the idea that the use of ISIS as a name is just a disrespectful and ignorant random occurrence. Instead I believe that Isis is making her presence felt through the at-first-glance outrage of her name being used in such a fashion. Her name holds the essence of her power, which is the ability for love to triumph over evil. What else could be more needed here? So if her name - and therefore her essence - gets through to us through such provocative measures, all the more kudos to her in using even negative publicity for her own divinely loving ends. For those of us that love her, that relate to her and have the ability in our hearts therefore to call upon her loving and empowering presence, I suggest that we do it. There is much terror being expressed in the world, again and again. She has mastered the art of triumph over darkness through love, and can offer us her guiding hand as we continue to do the same. Hate and fear are never solved through the application of more hate and fear. Love is the answer, and Isis can be our mentor for this lesson. If we ask for her, she will assist. I believe that she already is - I felt her presence in the responses to the Sydney Siege earlier this week. Every expression of terror, is an opportunity for love to respond and grow more powerful upon this planet. We never have to turn away - no matter how sickening or horrifying events may seem to be - for we have within our human hearts the capacity to choose a response that bestows light. May the true loving spirit of Isis, ancient mother of love, be alive in our hearts, as courage, as sacred defiance, as love. Isis - mother of life - bless each one of us with your love. So be it.

* Alana is presenting a one day workshop called "the temple of Isis" on 2 May in Berry and individual readings on 3 May.

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