When a woman loves, she devotes, sacrifices and protects. She fights for what is rightly hers not with muscles, but with love and patience. This is the story of the Egyptian goddess Isis who used love to defeat evil.
Isis is one of the most important goddesses of ancient Egypt. Her name is translated in greek as “throne“. Isis was initially an obscure goddess who lacked her own dedicated temples, but her cult subsequently spread throughout the Roman Empire, and Isis was worshipped from England to Afghanistan. She is still revered by pagans today. As mourner, she was a principal deity in rites connected with the dead. As a magical healer, she cured the sick and brought the deceased to life and as mother, she was a role model for all women.
Isis is often represented as a beautiful woman wearing a sheath dress and either the hieroglyphic sign of the throne or a solar disk and cow’s horns on her head. Occasionally she was represented as a scorpion, a bird, a sow, or a cow.
Uunfortunately, she had a very painful life dominated fear. Isis was the daughter of the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut and the sister of the deities Osiris, Nephthys and Seth. Married to Osiris, king of Egypt, Isis was a good queen who supported her husband and taught the women of Egypt how to weave, bake, and brew beer. But Seth was jealous, and he hatched a plot to kill his brother. Seth trapped Osiris in a decorated wooden chest, which he coated in lead and threw into the Nile. The chest had become Osiris’s coffin. With his brother vanished, Seth became king of Egypt.
The devoted queen could not forget her husband, and she searched everywhere for him until she eventually discovered Osiris, still trapped in his chest. Interestingly, she brought his body back to Egypt, where Seth discovered the chest and, furious, hacked his brother into pieces, which he scattered far and wide. Transforming into a bird, and helped by her sister, Nephthys, Isis was able to discover and reunite the parts of her dead husband’s body—only his penis was missing. Using her magical powers, she was able to make Osiris whole; bandaged, neither living nor dead, Osiris had become a mummy. Nine months later Isis bore him a son, Horus. Osiris was then forced to retreat to the underworld, where he became king of the dead.
As a loving mother, she hid with Horus in the marshes of the Nile delta until her son was fully grown and could avenge his father and claim his throne. No matter how much Isis loathed Seth, she still loved him as a brother and wavered during the eventual battle between Horus and Seth. Eventually she and Horus were reconciled, and Horus was able to take the throne of Egypt.
Isis was the perfect traditional Egyptian wife and mother—content to stay in the background while things went well, but able to use her wits to guard her husband and son should the need arise. The shelter she afforded her child gave her the character of a goddess of protection. But her chief aspect was that of a great magician, whose power transcended that of all other deities. She later became the patroness of seafarers. Some scholars presume that images of Isis nursing the baby Horus may have influenced the early Christian artists who depicted the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus.