From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Isis: Mother knows best

Isis (Picture by Jeff Dahl)
For the ancient Egyptians, every day was Mother’s Day.  That’s because Isis, the ultimate mother of everyone and everything, was their supreme goddess all year round.

The story of Isis is very much a family affair.  Born to Nut (the Sky goddess) and Geb (the Earth god), she ended up marrying her brother Osiris.  He, in turn, was murdered by their brother Set, who was married to their sister Nephthys.

After Set murdered Osiris, family dynamics became even more complex.  Isis just wasn’t going to take this sitting down.  She sprang right into action, looking far and wide for the scattered pieces of Osiris’ dismembered body.  After locating them, she managed to bind them back together and resurrect Osiris.  Isis and Osiris then celebrated by conceiving Horus - their divine son, and Egypt’s famous Falcon god.  Interestingly, when Isis knew she was pregnant, she hid in the Nile delta in order to protect Horus from the deadly wrath of Set.
There are many famous portrayals of Isis nursing Horus.  Parallels have also been drawn between this story and stories about Jesus.

According to Wikipedia, Isis was described in the Book of the Dead as giving birth to heaven and earth (although this may logically contradict her previously-mentioned parentage).  In the same book, she was also described as seeking righteousness and social justice.  Some of her titles that Wikipedia lists are as follows:  Mother of the Gods, Queen of Heaven, The One Who is All, Great Lady of Magic, and She Who Knows How To Make Right Use of the Heart.  Quite an impressive “resume” – one that puts even logic to shame…

It’s no wonder that worship of Isis spread far beyond the boundaries of ancient Egypt.  Jasmin Jahal reports
that “the cult of Isis spread from Alexandria throughout the Hellenistic world after the 4th century B.C.”  It also became part of ancient Roman culture until supplanted by Christianity.  Neopagans continue to embrace Isis. states:  Isis was a real person.  She wasn’t just a ‘myth’…  We are already a ‘world family’ of Mother Isis’ children.  


Copyright May 8, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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