July 5, 2020
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Isissssss Isis or in original more likely Aset (Ancient Greek: Ἶσις) is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans, and the downtrodden, and she listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats, and rulers.[13]The name Isis means “Throne”. Her headdress is a throne. As the personification of the throne, she was an important representation of the pharaoh’s power. The pharaoh was depicted as her child, who sat on the throne she provided. In the typical form of her myth, Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky, and she was born on the fourth intercalary day. She married her brother, Osiris, and she conceived Horus by him. Isis was instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris when he was murdered by Seth. Using her magical skills, she restored his body to life after having gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Seth.[14] The first written references to Isis date back to the Fifth dynasty of Egypt. Based on the association of her name with the throne, some early Egyptologists believed that Isis’s original function was that of throne-mother. However, more recent scholarship suggests that aspects of that role came later by association.

Isis Mother of Kings and her Funerary Association

In many African tribes, the throne is known as the mother of the king, and that concept fits well with either theory, possibly giving insight into the thinking of ancient Egyptians.During the Old Kingdom period, Isis was represented as the wife or assistant to the deceased pharaoh. Thus she had a funerary association, her name appearing over eighty times in the pharaoh’s funeral texts (the Pyramid Texts). This association with the pharaoh’s wife is consistent with the role of Isis as the spouse of Horus, the god associated with the pharaoh as his protector, and then later as the deification of the pharaoh himself.

The Mother of the Four Suns of Horus

Isis is often depicted as the mother of Horus, the hawk-headed god of war and protection (although in earlier traditions Horus’s mother was Hathor), and she is depicted suckling him in an attitude similar to that of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus. Isis is also known as protectress of the dead and goddess of children.

But in addition, Isis was also represented as the mother of the “four suns of Horus”, the four deities who protected the canopic jars containing the pharaoh’s internal organs. More specifically, Isis was viewed as the protectress of the liver-jar-deity, Imsety.[15] By the Middle Kingdom period, as the funeral texts began to be used by members of Egyptian society other than the royal family, the role of Isis as protectress also grew, to include the protection of nobles and even commoners. By the New Kingdom period, the role of Isis as a mother deity had displaced that of the spouse. She was seen as the mother of the pharaoh, and was often depicted breastfeeding the pharaoh.

The Cult of Isis

The cult of Isis became very prominent in late antiquity, when it began to absorb the cults of many other goddesses with strong cult centers. Like other Egyptian deities, the cult of Isis spread outside Egypt, and became the focus of a centralized cult in the Hellenistic period. This is when the cult of Osiris became widespread as well. Temples to Isis began to be built outside of Egypt. In many locations, devotees of Isis considered the local goddess to be Isis, but under a different name. Thus other Mediterranean goddesses, such as Demeter, Astarte, and Aphrodite, were identified with her.[16] Throughout the Graeco-Roman world, the cult of Isis became one of the most significant of the mystery religions, and many classical writers refer to her temples, cults, and rites.   Due to her attributes as a protector and mother, as well as a lusty aspect gained when she absorbed some aspects of Hathor, she became the patron goddess of sailors, who spread her worship with the trading ships circulating the Mediterranean Sea. During the formative centuries of Christianity, the religion of Isis drew converts from every corner of the Roman Empire. In Italy itself, Egyptian religion was an important force. At Pompeii, archaeological evidence reveals that the cult of Isis was prominent. In Rome, temples were built and obelisks erected in her honour. In Greece, traditional centres of worship in Delos, Delphi, Eleusis and Athens were taken over by followers of Isis, and this occurred in northern Greece as well. Harbours of Isis were to be found on the Arabian Sea and the Black Sea. Inscriptions show followers in Gaul, Spain, Pannonia, Germany, Arabia, Asia Minor, Portugal and many shrines even in Britain.[17]

Tree of Life Attributions

Isis is an attribution of the Sefiroth Daath according to Gereth Knight. “The safest way to work with Daath is through the Isis mythology for this relates generally to the highest positive side of Daath in which is held the Supernal Planning of the whole Universe and the shinning goals of the future.  Isis is a very ancient goddess, far older than the Egyptian pantheons.  This is indicated in the myth where Isis, by the power of her magic, induced Ra, the father of the Gods, to impart his secret name to her whereby she obtained power over him.  She was said to have her home in the star Sept, which is the star we now call Sirius or Sothis, the Dog Star.  And students of advanced esotericism will know that Sirius is the Sphere of the Greater Master, and the Sun behind our Sun.” (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide of Qabalistic Symbolism p.106)

The Egyptian deity’s correspondences for this 20th path of the qabalistic Tree of Life are Isis and Nephthys. One of the main reasons that explain these attributions, Israel Regardie informs us, is the fact that they are “both virgins.”[12]

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[12] Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegrenates, p. 78.
[13] R.E Witt (1997), Isis in the Ancient World, p. 7.
[14] See Veronica Ions (1968), Egyptian Mythology, Paul Hamlyn.
[15] Joyce Tyldesley (2011), The Penguin Book of Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt.
[16] Likewise, the Arabian goddess Al-Ozza or Al-Uzza العُزّى (al ȝozza), whose name is close to that of Isis, is believed to be a manifestation of her. This, however, is thought to be based on the similarity in the name.
[17] See R.E Witt (1997), Isis in the Ancient World.

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