Last week I told you how two Hungarian men offered to lead me and my friend to the Iseum in Scarbantia (modern day Sopron in Hungary) – the temple dedicated to the Egyptian Mother Goddess Isis. Isis was worshipped all over the Roman Empire 2000 years ago and I have been compelled to find evidence of her presence, specifically along the Amber Road, an important trade route through Central Europe.
Our two sacred/secret tourist guides led us through the basement of this ancient building and explained that in the past there had been a Franciscan-Benedictine monastery on this site. This was where the temple of Isis had been found. In all likelihood, the Isis temple was there before the monastery but now most of the site had been built over and the current building we were in was actually an old peoples’ home! Who knew? The men were social workers and worked in the home which is why they had keys and knew their way around. They led us through the mediaeval dining room with its plain wooden tables and low-vaulted ceilings and uncovered stonework.
The older man spoke German fairly well. The younger man spoke hardly any German and he expressed his frustration. In German he said: “I love the Roman period. I wish I could speak better German. The only foreign language I speak is English!”
“I am English” I replied. “We can speak English.” He could not believe his good fortune – a Roman history enthusiast with whom he could communicate in English! He began to hold forth regarding his knowledge of the temple and the Roman history of Scarbantia.
From the old peoples’ dining room, the two men led us into an even deeper basement room and there, in the corner of the room, looking quite unassuming, was the old stone votive altar dedicated to Isis!
The men explained that most of the temple was behind the wall and inaccessible because it had been built over. But Isis was here – well, right next door – 2000 years ago!
As close to the original Isis temple as I can be.
This room was closed to the public. It was only because they were social workers in the old peoples’ home that the two men knew about it and had access to the basement rooms.
With my two new Hungarian friends, backs up against the wall which stands between us and the original Isis temple.
Even though my guides had clearly been going somewhere with a purpose when we met them, they hung out with us in that old basement for at least 30 minutes while I took pictures and looked at every aspect of the temple remains and the story of the excavation which had been documented on the wall.
With Felip, my English-speaking, Roman history enthusiast and wayshower to the Iseum. I am touching the altar to Isis, something I would never been allowed to do if this had been a proper museum. 🙂
On the main street outside the area where the Iseum would have been. Note the original arches of the previous building on this site – maybe the Franciscan Benedictine monastery? – which have been left uncovered.
I walked away from that experience with tears welling up behind my eyes. Just consider the divine orchestration of that meeting with the two men who took us to the Iseum, the split second timing that was required, how everything that happened before that moment had to be exactly the way it was and take the time that it took.
One of my favourite bumper stickers is: “The Goddess is alive and magic is afoot!”
Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.
“Earth’s Miracles are Heaven’s Laws” Johann Richter