Hymn to Isis ( 3rd or 4th century AD )

(I used the text below as the foreword of my book “Eleven Minutes”)

For I am the first and the last

I am the venerated and the despised

I am the prostitute and the saint

I am the wife and the virgin

I am the mother and the daughter

I am the arms of my mother

I am barren and my children are many

I am the married woman and the spinster

I am the woman who gives birth and she who never procreated

I am the consolation for the pain of birth

I am the wife and the husband

And it was my man who created me

I am the mother of my father

I am the sister of my husband

And he is my rejected son

Always respect me

For I am the shameful and the magnificent one

discovered in Nag Hammadi, 1947

( one hour after I posted this text here, Methaper wrote me: “Sorry Paulo, but this original koptic text Nag Hammadi Codex NHC VI,2 is 3rd-4th century “AD”, not “BC”. It has the greek-koptic Titel βροντη “bront锝 and is NOT explicitely an hymn to goddess Isis, even if some historians regard it as “not impossible”.Kindest regards Metapher”)
(thank you, already corrected)



  1. Ruma says:


  2. Heart says:

    I read this last week end and knew I wanted to come back to it. Each time I read it, it makes me speech less. Very powerful words. As your wife said in 2010, I say; This is one of my favorite poems.. This is what we are, souls consisting of so many roles and relations.. Just let the soul float in us and be what it needs to be each time it interacts..

  3. cristina cabral says:

    Eu sou tudo, eu sou nada.

  4. Wanderlaini Aparecida Rodrigues says:

    A fera ferida
    Que mesmo ferida e machucada, se levanta, lambe suas feridas e continua seu caminho esperando as cicatrizes, que logo chega.
    E suas cicatrizes a ajudará em seu caminho, o que passou e o que ainda virá.

  5. densi says:

    Always respect me
    For I am the shameful and the magnificent one
    …it feels so good :) time&again

  6. Shelley says:

    Not in the Republican platform.

  7. neelam says:

    When i read the above lines suddenly something comes to my mind and now i m going to share with you whatever i feel about the above lines.

    The following verses are from a Muslim Punjabi spiritual poet, humanist and philosopher Baba Bulleh Shah.

    Bulla, who knows who I am?
    Neither I am a believer (who stays) in a mosque
    Nor do I indulge in actions of disbelief
    Nor am I the pure one amongst the impure
    Neither I exist in books of Vedas
    Nor do I stay drunk
    Nor do I remain stoned, rotting
    Neither I am happy nor sad
    Nor am I in the (argument of) Purity and Impurity
    Neither I am (made) of water nor of earth
    Nor am I fire nor air
    Bulla, who knows who I am?
    Bulleh Shah (1680-1757)
    Stay Bless always…….

  8. Ramiza Omerovic says:

    Paulo Coelho, I want to thank you dearly from my heart. You have inspired me countless number of times. You have made me who I am today. I am a spiritual being made of love and light.
    Paulo Coelho, you are all of the love, joy, and everything else that there is… I posses that love and joy because I feel that you and I are one. We are all one. All of the passion, desires, and joy that we perceive is US already!!
    I am hoping to write a book so I can inspire others like you have inspired me.

    I am sending you much gratitude and love…. I will continue reading your books. I love you.

    Ramiza O.

  9. “Her”

    Now you feel Me.
    Your mind cannot comprehend Me.
    Only your Soul knows Me.

    You are only beginning to understand…
    The depth of My Memory,
    The depth of My Passion,
    The depth of My Sorrow,
    The depth of My Compassion, for you.

    For Everything.
    There is Nothing between us.
    No thing.

    We are IT. There is nothing else.
    All activity is an attempt to reach Me…
    which places Me beyond reach.

    Entrance to Me is only granted through a surrendered Heart.
    No other Portal is large enough to contain My Essence.

    You, are just beginning to understand.
    I, cannot hurt you.

    By Isaac George

  10. kent mörk says:

    Beautiful!,you can have the lyrics in you.thank you…

  11. Fabio says:

    Io ho imparato nel corso della mia vita che bisogna ragionare unisex..ma questo è un discorso molto complicato da affrontare,non si puí² essere uomo senza essere donna e non si puí² amare senza odiare,l’unicití  del “tutto” che ci rende UMANI!

  12. Basil says:

    I always .. Laugh sincerely ..Love honestly ..and be sad truly

    never good at role-playing .. not mastered in wearing masks ..

    I cry when I really hurt …

    And When I laugh really i am happy ..

    I like my feelings … As it is ..!!

    Do not change myself for anyone, not even to satisfy for any person

    Never fribble my personalize ……. for satisfaction of the others ..

    ♥ – ~ This is me and that is me !!! ~ – ♥

  13. Corina says:

    Isn’t a part of this as a prologue to Eleven Minutes? :D Sounds familiar.

  14. Pandora says:

    Strange, how the words, “first” and “last” conjure the image:
    “Winner” and “Loser” in the year 2012 A.D…. Still

    Alpha and Omega.

    The snake eating its own tail,
    proves it knows,
    it is neither.

  15. Jessica says:

    I like this hymn :-)

    Love and light Jessica

  16. Vits says:

    I was just thinking doesnt this line also go well with these lines…..

    1. kimberly says:

      so perfect!!

  17. Irina Black says:

    s иглой в руках-
    sаштопана прореха мира.
    I.. идеала..
    sоздана картина.(ТВОРЧЕСТВО)

  18. Sheela Nandini says:

    The Goddess manifests with Two Faces – One Horrific and the Other Benign.

    But that’s again based on the need of the hour.

    To the Child She is the Loving Mother…


  19. Leandro says:

    Nag Hamadi , Egito .

    Eu tinha 19 anos de idade , estava por curiosidade na gnose . Ainda era ateu , frequentava a gnose apenas por curiosidade e me lembro como se fosse hoje quando o palestrante falou sobre os livros achados em Nag Hamadi .

    Seriam os mesmo ?

  20. Well says:

    If things don´t taste good to me, I will not swallow. But I will remember to respect and love this one person within, and bless her ways.

  21. Mary says:

    I was privileged to teach a poetry class to women in prison last night and to learn more through them than they did through me.

    We are all one.

  22. marina says:

    This poem is pure truth only seeking our real person we could be connected with Him and Her as man and woman are an half part of the whole.

  23. Eric says:

    Sounds very much like a song by Alanis Morissette:

    I hate the world today, you’re so good to me
    I know but I can’t change tried to tell you but you look at me
    Like maybe I’m an angel underneath, innocent and sweet
    Yesterday I cried, you must have been relieved to see the softer side
    I can understand how you’d be so confused

    I don’t envy you
    I’m a little bit of everything
    All rolled into one

    I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother
    I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed
    I’m your hell, I’m your dream, I’m nothing in between
    You know you wouldn’t want it any other way

    So take me as I am
    This may mean you’ll have to be a stronger man
    Rest assured that when I start to make you nervous
    And I’m going to extremes
    Tomorrow I will change and today won’t mean a thing

    I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother
    I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed
    I’m your hell, I’m your dream, I’m nothing in between
    You know you wouldn’t want it any other way

    Just when you think you’ve got me figured out
    The season’s already changing
    I think it’s cool you do what you do
    And don’t try to save me

    I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother
    I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed
    I’m your hell, I’m your dream, I’m nothing in between
    You know you wouldn’t want it any other way

    I’m a bitch, I’m a tease, I’m a goddess on my knees
    When you hurt, when you suffer, I’m your angel undercover
    I’ve been numbed, I’m revived, can’t say I’m not alive
    You know, I wouldn’t want it any other way

    Also done by Meredith Brooks.

    BTW, Hermetic texts one thought to date from only 100 AD were found amongs the Dead Sea Scrolls.

  24. Diana Stevan says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem. Simple, but profound.

  25. eleonora says:


  26. Aditee Sathe says:

    For me, these lines are divine. They depict that its me who is in the universe. In the virtues, in happiness, in pain, in my loved ones. Its a part of me that has a just share in the universe. I am a man and a woman. I am the truthful and the liar.For life itself is; birth and death.The more opposite two things are the more they move towards oneness. The only step that keeps back is realization. If we realize the oneness of life and universe; the song of the world will be our lullaby and fear of loss will be an extinct journey.

  27. Empié says:

    Desde que existe el hombre siempre ha habido Isis y Osiris en el mundo, curioso, oculto pero curioso.

    Un saludo.

  28. The whole poem – this is just a part – shows more of its character as a probable hymn to Isis. It’s not just a debate by historians but also by theologians. And those who revere Isis in modern times also debate over whether it is “Isis” spoken of here or not.

    Such a delight to find this on your blog, Paolo! – your works are inspirational (and I see Isis in them as well).

  29. toñi says:

    Hola! Iba a escribir que este poema es una descripción de nosotros mismos, que somos un poco de todo,…pero ya se me han adelantado, hay más personas que lo piensan como yo.
    Bueno creo que el ser humano, dentro de sus contradicciones tiene que aprender a encontrar el equilibrio en su interior. Por eso muchos maestros no pretenden enseñarnos…o sus enseñanzas se basan en el silencio…para que cada persona aprenda en sus contradicciones a no recibir respuesta a sus dudas, a sentirse furioso y luego ir evolucionando en su propio camino a través de sus propias emociones y pensamientos. El verdadero maestro deja que aprendamos por nosotros mismos y a veces la vida nos pone en situaciones lí­mite o absurdas para que aprendamos a valora y canalizar nuestras propias cualidades o nuestros defectos. Un saludo,

    1. Empié says:

      En oriente no existe un solo Buda, existen muchos, unos con cara de locos, otros con cara de odio, otros felices… En realidad buda nunca fue el mismo, y si fue un ser humano, seguro que cambió, además tiene sentido que para alcanzar la transcendencia haya que llevar el cuerpo al lí­mite, especialmente la mente y el alma, supongo que para que algo se transforme en algo mejor se necesita trabajo. Creo que ese también es el mensaje que trasmite este texto, Isis, o cualquier Buda-mujer, que haya existido no es la que nos han transmitido, seguro que tuvo una vida un tanto extrema y agitada, sin trabajo no hay transformación, y el obrero es digno de su salario… así­ que a tener paciencia y a seguir trabajando.

      Un abrazo, hablamos.

    2. toñi says:

      Hola Empié!
      ¿Cómo sabí­as que hablaba sobre Buda? Es increí­ble. Si.
      Bueno pues cambiando de tema, he tenido una reunión con la tutora de mi hija en el colegio y me dice que mi hija tiene “déficit de atención en clase”, dislexia y que necesita tratamiento y medicación. Me he informado y …me parece que tiene algo que se llama Sí­ndrome de Asperger, bueno y he llamado a una psicóloga para hablar con ella. Me dice la psicóloga que lo primero es que nadie que no sea un especialista me puede decir si mi hija necesita medicación, lo segundo que me dice es concretar cita y hablar con mi hija y conmigo y que después ya veremos que problema o no problema tiene mi hija y que pasos he de seguir para que sus estudios empiecen a ir mejor. Le he dicho que yo también quiero terapia…jajaja…si pudiese ser terapia familiar para las dos.
      Ya te contaré, hablamos.
      Un abrazo,

    3. Empié says:

      La verdad es que no lo sabí­a pero el camino supongo que será el mismo para todos los que alcanzan la iluminación, en lineas generales, lo que pasa es que luego los hombres hacemos religiones y deformamos la realidad, pero supongo que se habrá de pasar por las mismas cosas, más o menos.

      Dale un beso a tu hijita, seguro que no es nada demasiado importante.

      Un saludo, hablamos.

  30. Yan says:

    How profound! She is the goddess of all.

    Chinese translation:


  31. Annie says:

    A song about this in the making
    didn’t know to love it or to hate it
    sign or coincidence
    it is what it is
    and I thank you for this

    Love and Gratitude

  32. Isisit says:

    I put a call to the plumber Mohamed this morning.
    I got in touch directly with the Godfather , the movement of the music and the sound of the voice was fabulous.
    How ingenious people are.
    Have a nice day full of laughter and love

  33. sofy says:


  34. Emily says:

    Oh, this. I think this is more popularly known as “the thunder, the perfect mind” (sorry if anyone has mentioned it – too lazy to check the comments)

    Here’s the full version

    Kinda interesting, reading that poem. It feels like a puzzle, trying to figure out who “I” is :-)

  35. Vits says:

    I feel this is a Perfect description of human being …. Every individual is made of hundreds of contradictions …. We are sinner and a saint aswell…. Are masculine and feminine as well…. Are a mother and a daughter at the same time …. These contradictory forces are working inside every individual throughout life …. Paulo also terms it as Inner Struggle.. We are always struggling with these forces working against each other….. Both the saint and the sinner are inside trying to dominate each other… As Paulo has said ” Be Happy With Your Contradictions” …. Deep down I feel the above lines defines us Human Being and Humanity … Full of Contradictions …. Thats why its also said you cant Define Life…. Moral ….you have to choose and develop the saint in you …. But sinner in you has been inculcated by God so that we can judge whats Good and whats Bad…. Good or Bad are relative terms are meaningless without each other…. Afterall God has its own Mysterious Ways of doing things…..

  36. Gracias por compartirlo. Me encantó.

  37. Thankyou so much Paul and all contributors for the inspiration! (sorry its taken a few months)

    *Hymn to Isis* is now a track on our new CD *BareBones*.

    We really do hope you like it. You can preview/hear it at Reverbnation:the Indie Music Channel:Amazon:iTunes.

    Please let us know what you think and don’t be afraid to hurt our feelings.
    Erica and the much loved

  38. Carol Rindal says:

    This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your siteespecially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here keep up the finework. Thanks.

  39. Jenn Besonia says:

    She’s the Goddess of Fertility in Egypt, right?

  40. Ilva Asote says:

    1] Isis and Osiris. The great mystery.
    Fourteen parts of Osiris were scattered across the land of Egypt. There is said that the only part of Osiris’s body that Isis could not find remains forever lost in the world…

    I found it. — In the room with no furniture, just one beautiful, aristocratic orchid on the windowsill. In front of the window > doors. On the doors > a mirror… Nothing more.

    Orchid = the divine (& beautiful) part of a Man


    2] As I told it before, one of the most magnificent mysteries of the Goddess: “And I found the body with an Acacia tree at the head of the coffin of my beloved…”

    Standing in the room with an orchid in my hands and looking in the mirror, I suddenly realised that for twenty seven years already I was living in a house named Acacias… Life is a mystery. GREAT mystery.

    1. Varah Katims says:


  41. Ilva Asote says:

    I was 19 when I went for my studies abroad. I had nothing. Neither money, nor place where to spend my nights… It was my first ‘quest of the sword’.

    I attracted men, that’s true. I attracted very wealthy men, that’s also true. Seems, I could live very good if only… We met and some of them told me how they made love with their wives/girlfriends/lovers, but though of ME while having sex…

    Life is strange. I was the prostitute (in very unusual way) and the saint, as I never sold my time. Eleven minutes have always been a treasure for me & probably it was the wave of breath that turned into the Stone after some years.

    You may ask – how did I survive being “saint”? Sacrificing death, not sex.

  42. Cristina says:

    one of my favourite poems.
    thank you for having written in on your blog.

  43. karoline klerk says:

    In June 2008 I wrote this poem. Now for the first time I see “Hymn to Isis”. As you say Paulo, Anima Mundi.

    I am solitude and the company
    I am complicated and the very simple
    I am the amalgamator and the divider
    I am the hard rock and the soft sand
    I am the gentle wave and the breaker
    I am the mistress and the humble servant
    I am the parent and the child
    I am intense happiness and the deep sorrow
    I am masculine femininity
    I am feminine masculinity
    I am the veiled unveiled and the unveiled veiled

    I am all roads and yet one path
    I kill to preserve life
    My mind is here and afar
    My voice is silence and the clear tone
    My darkness is all light and my light the manifestation of darkness

    In the storm I go with the wind and yet trim my sails to stay on course
    I want the one and embrace many

    I am the beginning I am the end

    Once you label me you negate me

    1. cheese says:

      Karoline, it’s beautiful n deep.

      Thank you

  44. rasha says:

    in our ideas the woman is created from the man ‘s chest bone.thought woman are a part of man and she is very close to him.
    woman is a goddess because God gives her the ability of creation . the abiltiy of giving birth . so i agree with this verse.
    please give us something like “eleven minutes “again


  45. Meenu says:

    Good one!

    The verse reminds of a Hindu Goddess
    In Hinduism, there is Dhumavati who is depicted as hungry, unsatisfied and frowny faced widow. Her vehicle is crow and the background shows a graveyard(Not to be mistaken with Kali). The idea is that the Godess can assume any form, no concept of good or evil. Mother is Mother and should always be worshipped.

    Jai Jagadambe Ma!

    1. Saurabh Kant Goel says:

      not always……every mother is not same

    1. O Goddess! “Scatter on the earth the peace thou make reign in the sky.”
      Sublime !!!
      Thank you, Thelma

    2. THELMA says:

      I liked this aria. I like the music but only now, thanks to YOU TUBE I could find the lyrics and understand.. We are so lucky living at the time of … INTERNET!!
      Thank you Theresa.
      Thelma xxx

  46. James says:

    The appears to me as a commentary of how one woman saw Woman in her time. How Woman are the source of so much that happens or doesn’t happen. How the Woman is so important in Civilization and in our beliefs. If you ever visit the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City you can feel the love the faithful have for Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is difficult to move around the plaza when there are crowds because entire families walk side by side together. The people come from everywhere all year round hiking, on bicycles, buses, cars, planes.

    1. Maes Bruno says:

      Woman is referring to “mother earth” and ” father” is the universe. And we as human should take care off ourselves and our mother.

  47. Reham says:


    I have been having some trouble with this verse:
    “And it was my man who created me”

    Does “create” here means “appointed”?
    Or actual creating, which by that it would be that man was first in existence and then he created her?
    I’m finding trouble with the second idea because by theory the female Goddess supposed to be the source of life and by that she should be the first to exist and to create, shouldn’t she?


    1. si says:

      The chicken or the egg ?