Isis is a popular Egyptian goddess, tied to nature, magic, fertility, motherhood and family. She is also seen as a goddess of rebirth, reincarnation, and protector of the dead. Her other names include Divine Mother, Mistress of the West, Queen of the Earth, Lady of Truth, Giver of Life, and Mistress of the Tomb of Osiris. Her popularity spread from Egypt as far as Greece and Rome, and cults of worship existed until at least the 6th century AD.
Isis is the daughter of the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut, and sister to Osiris, Set/Seth, Nephthys and Horus the Elder in some descriptions. She married her brother Osiris, the god of grain, and it is thought that together they created Horus, the powerful hawk-headed god of war and protection.
Their brother Set, jealous of Osiris, plotted to kill him. In one story, Set violently attacks Osiris, cutting his body into many pieces. Distraught over her husband’s death, Isis restores his body to life after collecting the scattered body parts and embalming them in linen. It is thought that this started the tradition of mummification in Egypt.
Isis was known as ‘Aset’ in Egypt, meaning ‘Queen of the Throne’, and was often depicted wearing a throne headdress. This throne represented the Pharoah’s power, therefore Isis was seen as powerful goddess and protector of the throne.
Isis is closely associated with Hathor, and the two are sometimes confused. It is believed that Isis later assimilated with Hathor, her throne headdress replaced with Hathor’s cow horns surrounding a sun disc. Isis is also often seen holding an ankh, sistrum rattle or lotus.
Isis is also associated with the tiet or tyet, a knotted symbol similar to the ankh. Translated as ‘welfare’ or ‘life’, it is also called the Knot of Isis, Buckle of Isis, or Blood of Isis. The tiet is thought to symbolize eternal life or resurrection.
Another popular image of Isis is of her suckling the young Horus on her lap. Some say that this inspired the traditional Christian image of Madonna and Child, the Virgin Mary with Jesus, which appeared after the 5th century.
Isis was seen as a role model to women, representing femininity, strength, and resilience. She can be called upon to assist you in turning around a bad situation in your favour.
Ancient Egypt Online – Isis
Thalia Took – Isis
About.com – Isis
Wiki – Isis
Goddess Gift – Isis
© A Year And A Day (2013)