Next Month I’m going to be releasing the latest Isis series book, Isis Samurai Goddess with a MIND SHATTERING MASTERPIECE of a cover by Bill Walko! Those who followed my Twitter and Facebook got a Sneak peek of that cover, and on Monday I’ll be revealing it here for the rest of my regular readers!
Everything in Isis: House of Isis is still a FIRST DRAFT. So it’s likely to change dramatically in the actual published edition!
I catch the reflection of the pouty expression on my face in a store window as we head down Lenox Avenue. I’m not happy about having my football game interrupted. But if Doc thinks going to this church is important, I can attend one service.
I admit I’ve been a pretty lousy Christian the last forty years. The last time I set foot in a church was for my best friend Alma’s funeral. Back in the early twentieth century Andrea Thomas Robinson was a regular member of Church in Oneonta County and Atlanta on the Spelman campus. But when I started seeing my friends and Theta sisters pass away in the 1970s I just did my best to avoid church. It was just too hard to focus on having a relationship with Christ in Church when I kept seeing people I loved leave this earth.
Doc gives me a curious look as we approach the corner. “What keeps you out of church these days Princess?” she asks.
“I got tired of going to funerals.” I sigh.
“You know you’re going to have to go to mine one day.”
And that’s gonna be one of the saddest days of my life. Doc is the last of my living friends from the 20th Century. When she goes home to be with our Lord, I’m truly gonna be alone in this world for the first time in a hundred years. “Don’t remind me.”
“I know. But you have to face the fact that I’m not gonna be around much longer Princess.”
My eyes grow wide after she says that. “Are you-”
“No, my doctor says I’m healthier than most of the twenty-year-olds he sees.” Doc chuckles. “But I’d like to think it’d be prudent for you to start expanding your social circle before I pass.”
“Is that why you want me to go back to church?”
“You came back to resume your work here. It’s kind of hard to find out what’s going on today with people hanging around old timers like me-”
If it wasn’t for her I doubt I’d be as connected to some of the people I’ve met this go around the world. “Hey, I’m just waiting to go where I’m needed.”
“And you really need to spend some time in church while you wait. You know Alma’s granddaughter goes to Greater Abyssinian over on Fredrick Douglass-”
We just keep missing each other. “So she’s going to be at the afternoon service?”
Doc flashes me a playful smile. “She was at the morning service with me.”
“So we’re going to the afternoon service to meet the pastor?”
“Maybe next week.” Doc says. “This is a church you’ve got to see to believe.”
My curiosity is piqued when Doc turns the corner of 133rd Street and starts heading down towards Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. When she stops in the middle of the block, I peer up at the gold plated sign above the storefront decorated in hieroglyphs saying THE HOUSE OF ISIS in bold letters. I don’t know whether to be impressed or to sue for copyright infringement.
“I guess these sermons here would be right up my alley.” I say. “I didn’t know anyone still practiced the Old Heliopolitan faith.”
“Maybe, maybe not. But I thought you should take a look around before you decided to bring your wrath down on these blasphemers.”
Well, I wouldn’t the family putting a spell of pestilence on innocent people. I get the door for Doc and we step on the parquet floors of the storefront temple. I’m surprised to see it’s a full house. When I look over at the group of men and women dressed in Afrocentric formal wear sitting in the series of folding chairs arranged in front of the stage across the room. I peer down at the black leather jacket, white blouse, blue jeans, and Chelsea boots and wonder if I’m dressed too casually for this trip to the temple. “Maybe I should have dressed for service.” I say.
“I think you’re okay.” Doc replies. “Besides, you wouldn’t want to make a bad first impression on these mere mortals by tripping on the train of your New Heliopolitan gown.”
“Or have that blasted tiara fall in my eyes.”
As I peruse the shelves at the front of the store I notice that they have tubs of Shea butter, bottles of oils, and bars of Black soap for sale. “I guess these are for purification rituals.”
Doc is about to say something when a tall, muscular chocolate colored man dressed in a black tunic, pants and sandals approaches us. “When you purify your body you purify your mind my sista.” He says.
I greet his charming smile with a cheeky one of my own. “And how would these products allow me to purify myself…”
“Jamar, humble servant of the Priestess.” Jamar continues. “These processed products made by The White Man are filled with toxic chemicals that destroy your hair and your body.” The man says brushing back his long dreadlocks. “With the natural products made by our High Priestess, your natural hair and body will remain healthy and strong the way the goddess intended.”
I guess I wouldn’t know the difference between the natural hair care processes I used to use in Nubia and the shampoo I buy at Sepia with my invulnerability. But I’ll go along with the sales pitch. “Goddess?”
“Yeah, the Black Woman is God.”
I give him a curious look on the declaration of his faith. “God?”
“Yeah, The Black woman birthed the Universe from her womb. Everything on this earth came out of her.”
That’s not what I read in my Bible. Heck, It’s not even what I know about my own family. But I’ll go along so I can find out what goes on in this so-called House of Isis. “Everything?”
“Yeah, everything. All you see here in this neighborhood was created by our goddess the Black woman.”
Yeah, Black women created all this. Thanks to them embracing the ideologies of White feminists and the welfare state of White liberal politicians in the 1970s they created all the out of wedlock babies, the drugs, crime, and all the poverty that have become staples of this neighborhood. But I won’t educate him on the truth yet. There’s still a lot I need to learn about this house of worship with my name on it. “So all Black women are goddesses?”
“Yeah. Even a mixed sista like you has some of the goddess’ spiritual energy flowing through her.”
If only he knew I was born in Nubia. “Mixed?”
“Yeah, with that light hair and that light skin you definitely got some Irish and Italian in your family.”
“Irish and Italian?”
“It’s clear you ain’t a full melanated person like myself.” The man continues. “True Black people like myself have darker skin because we have deeper connection to Kemet.”
Being the daughter of Osiris I’ve got far more melanin than everyone in the room. “Kemet?”
“That’s Egypt’s original name before the White Man changed it to suit his version of White Supremacist version of history.”
We never called it Kemet in any of the official Nubian texts. “They always called it Egypt when I was in college-”
“That’s the name the White Man gave our homeland in his education system.” Jamar continues. “The information about our true Black heritage is in the books the Priestess sells here.”
I look over at the series of paperback books on the bookshelf with hieroglyphs on the cover. “Where would I start learning more about the real Kemet in her books?” I inquire.
Jamar smiles on hearing my interest in Kemet. “I’d love to suggest a few titles to you right now my sista, but The Priestess is about to make her Afternoon Devotions and I have to help her with that.”
“Would you be able to show me a few later?”
I’m given a flirtatious smile filled with anticipation. “I’d be glad to show you all of the Priestesses’ literature after Devotions.”
Jamar hurries across the parquet floors, up the stairs and up to the stage. As he rushes behind a curtain, Doc and I find seats in the back. “He’s a sexy piece of hot chocolate.” Doc says.
“I think he likes me.” I say.
“Are you catching the spirit Princess?”
“Maybe. I’m curious to what the Priestess will have to say during her Afternoon Devotion.
Isis: House of Isis is still being written as we speak. But if you drop enough donations to the paypal link at the top of the screen to pay for the cover, I can put it on the fast track for to be available for the Summer reading season!