Fellowship of Isis History Archive - Isis Invicta

Isis Invicta Military Mission

Temple of Isis, Geyserville, California


Isis Invicta was founded through the Temple of Isis in Geyserville, California in 1998. The Temple of Isis, in turn, is a Lyceum in the Fellowship of Isis, which has gained the ability to convey legal recognition as ministers to members of the FOI clergy. Lady Olivia Robertson, FOI co-founder, designates the Temple of Isis as 'the legal branch of the Fellowship of Isis."

Isis Invicta began as an FOI Iseum, Isis Menouthis, founded in 1997 in Germany. Their initial work took place at Taylor Barracks in Mannheim, Germany. In late 1997 Rt. Rev. Ian MacWatt wrote: "With the Rev. Rona Russell and the Rev. Hundhasen we have founded the Iseum to give help and support to the many Pagans and followers of the Goddess in the military stationed in Europe. After six months of negotiations we have finally obtained formal recognition from the US Military Chaplain's office and the Concomitant right to use a Community chapel for our worship on a regular basis. Rev. Rona Russell will commence healing classes for women in the Military in Autumn/Winter, teaching female spirituality. Later I shall commence a similar class for teaching men. The Rev. Annette is translating deTraci Regula's book "The Mysteries of Isis" to German, for the author has, from the start of our odyssey, been the most wonderful support, inspiration, advisor and friend to us."

The founders of Isis Invicta Military Mission, Rt. Rev. Ian MacWatt (Ision) and Rev. Rona Russell (Emmachia) created IIMM for the express purpose of providing guidance and instruction for those who wished to serve as community leaders within the U.S. military Neo-Pagan populace. The purpose of their training program is to provide support to the U.S. Military Pagan community in all areas of service, those in active duty, reservists, veterans and their dependents worldwide.

Why choose Isis as a patroness for a program serving pagans in the military? "Isis Invicta" means "Isis in Victory." This aspect of the Goddess Isis first appeared in Rome. Isis had fostered and protected Her Son Horus during His struggle to claim the throne of His Father, Osiris. She was even said to have taught Him the arts of war to further His quest. Because of this, Isis became a Patroness of Roman soldiers. As the Roman legions spread to fortify and expand the Roman empire, the veneration of Isis went with them.

September, 1998 - April, 2007

The quest to include the Pentacle as a legally recognized symbol on a veteran’s gravestone on the part of Isis Invicta began in September, 1998, culminating in a decision reached through a successful lawsuit on Friday, April 20, 2007. By Monday, April 23, 2007 circulation of a public announcement released by the Veterans Administration to the mainstream news confirmed the decision.

In September 1998, Rev. Rona Russell applied to the Veteran’s Administration on behalf of Isis Invicta with a request to add the Pentacle as an officially approved emblem of belief. In February of 1999 she re-submitted the request and still another submission in June of 1999 in which she wrote: “I have yet to receive any notification of any kind, either approval or disapproval. I fear that my applications have been discarded out of discrimination. I would appreciate a timely reply this time around.”

Rev. Rona Russell on behalf of Isis Invicta filed three separate applications and made numerous attempts, by telephone, e-mail and letter to obtain a decision. But in more than eight years, she never received a determination - even though in every instance, her filed submissions met the legal requirements of the time period according to the 1997 Rules, the 2001 Rules, and the 2005 Rules.

The efforts of Isis Invicta in this endeavor have been covered by the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, Star Tribune of St. Paul Minneapolis, La Crosse Tribune of Wisconsin, The Las Vegas Sun, San Diego Union Tribune, The Courier Journal of Louisville Kentucky, The Clarion News, KSBY Action News, and The Associated Press. The story has been followed in Unitarian Universalist Magazine and USA Today, the Community for USMC Veterans and the Military Pagan Network among many others.

A lawsuit was filed by Isis Invicta Military Mission of the Temple of Isis, Circle Sanctuary, Jill Medicine Heart Combs, whose veteran husband is severely ill, and two members of Circle Sanctuary whose husbands were veterans -- Roberta Stewart of Nevada and Karen DePolito of Utah. One of the key points of the lawsuit - it made no sense for Wiccan symbols to be banned from grave markers when Wiccan soldiers can list their faith on dog tags. The settlement calls for the pentacle to be placed on grave markers within 14 days for those who have pending requests with the Veteran's Administration.

During the lawsuit, Rev. Rona Russell co-authored a letter that was sent to the White House in Washington D.C., which included signatures from those in support of the measure. This letter was included in a report to the CENSUR Conference in 2002.

The pentacle is used as a symbol of faith for Wicca, an earth-based religion which honors Goddess and God. Wiccans advocate a love and respect of nature, encouraging human beings to live in harmony with the earth.

The pentacle joins 38 symbols the Veteran's Administration already permits on gravestones. They include commonly recognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those that may be lesser known, Sufism Reoriented, Eckankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie.

The American Civil Liberties Union said this agreement also settles a similar lawsuit filed by the ACLU last year against the Veterans Administration. In that case, the ACLU represented two other Wiccan churches and three individuals.

"I am glad this has ended in success in time to get markers for Memorial Day," said Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess and founder of Circle Sanctuary.

Isis Invicta Military Mission website: http://www.isisinvicta.org/

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