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Isis (called "Aset" by the Egyptians),
a daughter of Nut and Geb, is known in Ancient Egyptian mythology as a goddess of magic. Wife and sister of Osiris, Isis was originally considered a funerary goddess. After her resurrection via magic of Osiris, who had been killed by his brother Set, Isis was considered "more powerful than a thousand soldiers" and "the clever-tongued one whose speech never fails." She is sometimes invoked as an assistant in magical rituals in some traditions of contemporary Paganism.
Her worship is also a focus of some Kemetic reconstructionist groups.
The Love of Isis and Osiris
Isis and her brother, Osiris, were recognized as husband and wife. Isis loved Osiris, but their brother Set (or Seth) was jealous of Osiris, and planned to kill him. Set tricked Osiris and murdered him, and Isis was highly distraught. She found Osiris' body had been not only killed but separated and so she went in search and found every part of her husband, & She brought Osiris back to life, and the two of them conceived Horus.
Depiction of Isis in Art and Literature
Because Isis' name means, literally, "throne" in the Ancient Egyptian language, she is usually represented with a throne as a depiction of her power. She is often shown holding a lotus as well. After Isis was assimilated with Hathor, she was sometimes depicted with the twin horns of a cow on her head, with a solar disc between them.
Beyond Egypt's Borders
Isis was at the center of a cult that spread far beyond Egypt's boundaries.
The Romans were aware of the cult's existence, but it was frowned upon by many of the ruling class. The emperor Augustus (Octavian) decreed that worship of Isis was forbidden as part of his attempt to return Rome to Roman gods. For some Roman worshipers, Isis was absorbed into the cult of Cybele, which held bloody rites in honor of their mother goddess.
The cult of Isis moved as far afield as ancient Greece, and was known as a mystery tradition among the Hellenes until it was banned by Christianity around the sixth century c.e.
Goddess of Fertility, Rebirth, and Magic
In addition to being the fertile wife of Osiris, Isis is honored for her role as the mother of Horus, one of Egypt's most powerful gods. She was also the divine mother of every pharaoh of Egypt, and ultimately of Egypt itself. She assimilated with Hathor, another goddess of fertility, and is often depicted nursing her son Horus. There is a wide belief that this image served as inspiration for the classic Christian portrait of the Madonna and Child.
After Ra created all things, Isis tricked him by creating a serpent which ambushed Ra on his daily journey across the heavens. The serpent bit Ra, who was powerless to undo the poison. Isis announced that she could heal Ra from the poison and destroy the serpent, but would only do so if Ra revealed his True Name as payment. By learning his True Name, Isis was able to gain power over Ra.
After Set murdered and dismembered Osiris, Isis used her magic and power to bring her husband back to life. The realms of life and death are often associated with both Isis and her faithful sister Nephthys, who are depicted together on coffins and funerary texts.
They are usually shown in their human form, with the addition of the wings that they used to shelter and protect Osiris.
Isis for a Modern Age
A number of contemporary Pagan traditions have adopted Isis as their patron Goddess and she is often found at the heart of Dianic Wiccan groups and other female-centered covens. Although modern Wiccan worship does not follow the same structure as the ancient Egyptian ceremonies that were once used to honor Isis, today's Isiac covens incorporate Egyptian lore and mythology into a Wiccan framework, bringing the knowledge and worship of Isis into a contemporary setting.
The Order of the Golden Dawn, founded by William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott, and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, recognized Isis as a powerful triple goddess. Later, she was passed down to modern Wicca when it was founded by Gerald Gardner.
Kemetic Wicca is a variation of Gardnerian Wicca that follows an Egyptian pantheon. Some Kemetic groups focus on the trinity of Isis, Orsiris and Horus and utilize prayers and spells found the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead.
In addition to these widely recognized traditions, there are countless eclectic Wiccan groups throughout the world that have selected Isis as their deity. Because of the strength and power displayed by Isis, spiritual paths that honor her are popular among many Pagans who are seeking alternatives to traditional patriarchal religious structures. Worship of Isis has seen a resurgence as part of the "Goddess-oriented" spirituality that has become a notable part of the New Age movement.
A Prayer to Isis
Mighty mother, daughter of the Nile,
we rejoice as you join us with the rays of the sun.
Sacred sister, mother of magic,
we honor you, Lover of Osiris,
she who is mother of the universe itself.
Isis, who was and is and shall ever be
daughter of the earth and sky,
I honor you and sing your praises.
Glorious goddess of magic and light,
I open my heart to your mysteries.
Many People may also know it as the Story of Creation=
The Story of Osiris, Isis and Horus:
The Egyptian Myth of Creation
From Geb, the sky god, and Nut, the earth goddess came four children: Osiris, Isis, Set and Nepthys. Osiris was the oldest and so became king of Egypt, and he married his sister Isis. Osiris was a good king and commanded the respect of all who lived on the earth and the gods who dwelled in the netherworld. However, Set was always jealous of Osiris, because he did not command the respect of those on earth or those in the netherworld. One day, Set transformed himself into a vicious monster and attacked Osiris, killing him. Set then cut Osiris into pieces and distributed them throughout the length and breadth of Egypt. With Osiris dead, Set became king of Egypt, with his sister Nepthys as his wife. Nepthys, however, felt sorry for her sister Isis, who wept endlessly over her lost husband. Isis, who had great magical powers, decided to find her husband and bring him back to life long enough so that they could have a child. Together with Nepthys, Isis roamed the country, collecting the pieces of her husband’s body and reassembling them. Once she completed this task, she breathed the breath of life into his body and resurrected him. They were together again, and Isis became pregnant soon after. Osiris was able to descend into the underworld, where he became the lord of that domain. The child born to Isis was named Horus, the hawk-god. When he became an adult, Horus decided to make a case before the court of gods that he, not Set, was the rightful king of Egypt. A long period of argument followed, and Set challenged Horus to a contest. The winner would become king. Set, however, did not play fair. After several matches in which Set cheated and was the victor, Horus’ mother, Isis, decided to help her son and set a trap for Set. She snared him, but Set begged for his life, and Isis let him go. When he found out that she had let his enemy live, Horus became angry with his mother, and rages against her, earning him the contempt of the other gods. They decided that there would be one more match, and Set would get to choose what it would be. Set decided that the final round of the contest would be a boat race. However, in order to make the contest a challenge, Set decided that he and Horus should race boats made of stone. Horus was tricky and built a boat made of wood, covered with limestone plaster, which looked like stone. As the gods assembled for the race, Set cut the top off of a mountain to serve as his boat and set it in the water. His boat sank right away, and all the other gods laughed at him. Angry, Set transformed himself into a hippopotamus and attacked Horus’ boat. Horus fought off Set, but the other gods stopped him before he could kill Set. The other gods decided that the match was a tie. Many of the gods were sympathetic to Horus, but remembered his anger toward his mother for being lenient to Set, and were unwilling to support him completely. The gods who formed the court decided to write a letter to Osiris and ask for his advice. Osiris responded with a definite answer: his son is the rightful king, and should be placed upon the throne. No one, said Osiris, should take the throne of Egypt through an act of murder, as Set had done. Set had killed Osiris, but Horus did not killed anyone, and was the better candidate. The sun and the stars, who were Osiris’ allies, descended into the underworld, leaving the world in darkness. Finally, the gods agreed that Horus should claim his birthright as king of Egypt.