OSIRIS, THE GOD OF THE DEAD AND THE AFTERLIFE
Osiris was the God of the Dead and the Afterlife. He was the Judge of the Divine Court and presided over the judgement of the dead. He was the first mummy and one of the most revered and powerful deities. He was often depicted with a tall conehead-like headdress and a crook in one hand and a flail in the other. These object are often pictured on images of pharaohs to represent their divine power. Isis was Osiris's wife and Horus’s father. He was murdered by Seth. his evil brother.
According to legend Osiris was originally a local fertility and vegetation god in southern Egypt linked with the growth of crops. He was slain by Seth and had his body parts scattered all over the world. Isis collected the pieces and wrapped them in a magical cloth woven from her hair by the embalming god Anubis, allowing Osiris to be reborn as the god of the dead. In one version of the story his body was torn into 14 pieces and all of them were found except one piece---Osiris's penis. Mummification is viewed as reenactment of the events of Osiris's death.
Osiris was the mythological first king of Egypt and one of the most important of the gods. In some versions of his myth, Osiris was a human who died and was resurrected as a god. He acted sort of like an Egyptian Jesus, giving humans the hope of an afterlife. Many Christian rituals---crucifixes, rosaries, communion and holy water---can be traced back to the Egyptian Osiris cult. It is said that he brought civilization to mankind. Unnefer (Wenen-nefer, Onnophris) — a name meaning 'he who is continually happy' — was given to Osiris after his resurrection. \+\
Mark Millmore wrote in discoveringegypt.com: Osiris “is usually depicted as a mummy holding the crook and flail of kingship. On his head he wears the white crown of Upper Egypt flanked by two plumes of feathers. Sometimes he is shown with the horns of a ram. His skin is depicted as blue, the color of the dead; black, the color of the fertile earth; or green, representing resurrection. Osiris’s head was thought to have been buried at Abydos, his main cult center. Each year, during his festival, there was a procession and a reenactment of his story in the form of a mystery play. [Source: Mark Millmore, discoveringegypt.com discoveringegypt.com]
Barbara Waterson wrote for the BBC: “Osiris, a member of the Great Ennead, was not only god and chief judge of the Underworld but also god of resurrection, the Inundation and vegetation...According to the myth of Osiris, he was an enlightened king of Egypt, who was murdered by his jealous brother, Seth, but was resurrected. This myth ensured that he was worshipped at Abydos, his chief cult centre,where his death and resurrection were celebrated annually in a miracle play. He was also universally revered, not least for the hope of eternal life that he held out to all Egyptians.” [Source: Barbara Waterson, BBC, March 29, 2011]
Websites on Ancient Egypt: UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, escholarship.org ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Egypt sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Discovering Egypt discoveringegypt.com; BBC History: Egyptians bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians ; Ancient History Encyclopedia on Egypt ancient.eu/egypt; Digital Egypt for Universities. Scholarly treatment with broad coverage and cross references (internal and external). Artifacts used extensively to illustrate topics. ucl.ac.uk/museums-static/digitalegypt ; British Museum: Ancient Egypt ancientegypt.co.uk; Egypt’s Golden Empire pbs.org/empires/egypt; Metropolitan Museum of Art www.metmuseum.org ; Oriental Institute Ancient Egypt (Egypt and Sudan) Projects ; Egyptian Antiquities at the Louvre in Paris louvre.fr/en/departments/egyptian-antiquities; KMT: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt kmtjournal.com; Ancient Egypt Magazine ancientegyptmagazine.co.uk; Egypt Exploration Society ees.ac.uk ; Amarna Project amarnaproject.com; Egyptian Study Society, Denver egyptianstudysociety.com; The Ancient Egypt Site ancient-egypt.org; Abzu: Guide to Resources for the Study of the Ancient Near East etana.org; Egyptology Resources fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
Osiris, the Dead and the Afterlife
Mark Smith of the University of Oxford wrote: For the Egyptians, the god Osiris provided a model whereby the effects of the rupture caused by death could be totally reversed, since that deity underwent a twofold process of resurrection. Mummification reconstituted his “corporeal” self and justification against Seth his “social” self, re- integrating him and restoring his status among the gods. Through the mummification rites, which incorporated an assessment of the deceased’s character, the Egyptians hoped to be revived and justified like Osiris. These rites endowed them with their own personal Osirian aspect or form, which was a mark of their status as a member of the god’s entourage in the underworld. Thus the deceased underwent a twofold resurrection as well. Not only were their limbs reconstituted, and mental and physical faculties restored, but they entered into a personal relationship with Osiris that simultaneously situated them within a group. [Source: Mark Smith, University of Oxford, UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology 2008, escholarship.org <>]
“To understand why the life, death, and resurrection of Osiris were so significant, one must first grasp how the ancient Egyptians conceived of the human being. Their conception was essentially a monistic one. They did not divide the person into a corruptible body and immortal soul. They did, however, perceive each individual as having a “corporeal self” and a “social self”. For both, “connectivity” was an essential prerequisite. Just as the disparate limbs of the human body could only function effectively as parts of a properly constituted whole, so too could the individual person only function as a member of a properly structured society. Death brought about a twofold rupture, severing the links between the constituent parts of the body while at the same time isolating the deceased from the company of his or her former associates. In effect, it was a form of dismemberment, both corporeal and social. <>
Mark Smith of the University of Oxford wrote: “According to a widespread Egyptian tradition, the god Osiris was born in Thebes on the first epagomenal day, the 361st day of the year, asthe eldest child of Geb and Nut, although some variant accounts provide different details about the day and place of his birth and his parentage. At delivery, he measured one cubit (52.3 cm) in length. As an adult his full height was eight cubits, six palms, and three fingers, or approximately 4.7 m. Like other Egyptian deities, his hair was blue-black in color. He married his younger sister Isis, with whom he had initiated a sexual relationship while both were still in their mother’s womb, and was crowned king of Egypt in succession to his father in Herakleopolis, adopting the fivefold titulary “Horus powerful of arms, Two Ladies mighty in valor, Horus of Gold Osiris, King of Upper and Lower Egypt Osiris, Son of Ra Wennefer the triumphant”. One source records that he held the offices of vizier, chief priest of Heliopolis, and royal herald before his assumption of the throne; another, that he had instigated a rebellion against Shu prior to his accession. [Source: Mark Smith, University of Oxford, UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology 2008, escholarship.org <>]
“At the age of 28 the god was murdered by his brother, Seth. According to some sources, the killer justified his act with the claim that he had acted in self- defense. According to others, he took retribution because Osiris had engaged in an illicit affair with his wife, Nephthys . The offspring of this adulterous union was Anubis, who is sometimes called the eldest son of Osiris . A few texts say the god also had a daughter or daughters, without indicating who their mother was, by one of whom he fathered additional sons. After the murder of her husband, Isis searched for and discovered his corpse, which was then reconstituted through mummification. Using her potent spells and utterances, she was able to arouse Osiris and conceive her son Horus by him. Thus a sexual relationship that began before either deity was actually born continued even after one of them had died. <>
“The child Horus was raised in secret by his mother in the marshes of Khemmis in the delta, where he was safe from Seth’s attempts to find and kill him. On reaching adulthood, he avenged the crime committed against Osiris. Seth was brought to justice, found guilty, and punished for his deed, while Horus was acclaimed as king and rightful successor to his father. Now vindicated against his enemy, and with the legitimacy of his heir firmly established, Osiris himself was installed as ruler of the underworld and its inhabitants. <>
“This brief sketch is a composite assembled from a number of Egyptian sources of different dates and from different parts of the country. It illustrates one salient fact, however. Osiris is one of the few Egyptian divinities of whom it is possible to write even the outline of a biography. More personal details about him are extant than about any other god or goddess. This is not simply an accident of preservation. The Egyptians considered some deities important because of their impersonal attributes and powers, the roles they were believed to play in the maintenance of the cosmos. But the crucial significance of Osiris for them lay in what he personally had done and undergone. His life, death, and resurrection were perceived to be particularly momentous in relation to their own fates, and thus they figure more prominently in the textual record than do accounts of the exploits of other divinities. Moreover, because so much importance was invested in the fact that these were events actually experienced by a real individual, and not merely abstractions, personal detail was essential in recounting them.” <>
Myth of Osiris
The Myth of the Osirian Cycle goes: “Now, Great Re had at last grown old. He saw that man had become fearful and angry. They had made the first weapons, and attacked anyone who might be an enemy of the Sun God. Sadly, Re chose to leave the Divine Throne and moved far away from the land; He moved where He could still see mankind, but be far out of their reach. He made the stars and scattered them along the belly of Nuit. He made the Field of Peace and the Field of Reeds as homes for the blessed dead. Finally, He summoned Wise Thoth. He spake unto Him and said, "See, I will shine here in the heavens. I will light the sky above and the sky below. You must represent Me on earth, and record the deeds of men." He then created the Ibis form of Thoth, and made Him the Scribe of the Gods. [Source: Theology WebSite]
“When Re was in the underworld, the world was engulfed in Darkness, and men were afraid; They wept for the loss of the Sun God. Their cries reached Re Himself, and the Divine One also transformed Thoth into the Great White Baboon. Thoth shone with a silvery Light, and man no longer feared the sinking of the Sun. This was the mercy of Re to the children of His tears.
“Finally, Re commanded Geb and Nun to guard the world against the Serpents of Chaos; and He set His Great Grandson, Osiris, Lord of Eternity, as the new Pharoah of Egypt, and made Isis it's Queen. Osiris proved to be a wise and kindly ruler. He taught man how to irrigate the land from the flood-waters of the Nile, and to grow crops therefrom. He taught them how to know and worship the Gods. He gave them the law of the land. He guided them away from canabalism and incest, and brought civilization to the people.
“Soon, the Great Pharoah had brought a Golden Age to Egypt, and He set off to share His wisdom with distant countries as well. Isis was left in his place, and She ruled as well as Osiris Himself had done. Her brother, Seth, Dark Lord of Storm, She watched as a mongoose eyes the cobra. For Seth coveted the Throne of Osiris for His own.”
Seth Murders Osiris
“When Osiris returned to Egypt, Seth had designed a plot for His overthrow with the aid of seventy-two conspirators. A banquet had been planned in honour of Osiris; one that Cunning Isis would not be attending. During the festivities, Seth began to speak of a splendid chest that had been made for Him. He sent for the chest, and all present admired the fine wood and gilding. Seth declared that He would gift the chest to any man who could fit it exactly. [Source: Theology WebSite]
“Each man, in his turn, laid within the chest. Some were too short, and others too tall. Seth knew that only Osiris would fit the chest exactly, for he had constructed it to Osiris' exact measurements. Osiris' turn came, and He lay trustingly back into the chest, fitting snuggly within it. There was laughter amoung the guests who thought that Seth had lost His prize to the Pharoah. Seth signaled his conspirators, and the chest was immediately slammed shut and locked. The chest was carried in the dark of night to a branch of the Nile, and was tossed into the cold waters. Seth then declared the death of the King, and crowned Himself King of Egypt. When Isis came to know of Her husband's death, she became half mad with grief. She cuff off a lock of Her hair and dressed in widow's clothing. She then went out in search of Her husband's body.
“During Her travels, Isis came to learn that Osiris had known Her sister Nephthys. From that union had been born a child-Anubis-but Nephthys had turned Him away at birth. And so Kindly Isis tracked Him with the help of dogs, and raised Him to be Her guardian and attendant. From village to village She traveled, until finally She found that the chest had come to rest in the land of Byblos. It had been entangled in the roots of a young sapling. Strengthend by the murdered God, it had grown in a single night into a tall and graceful tree. When the King of Byblos heard of this marvel, he had sent for the tree to be made into a pillar for his palace. No one suspected that the tree contained a coffin within it's trunk.
“Isis heard of this and made Her way into the palace, residing there for many months. At last she convinced the Queen of Byblos to give Her the pillar, and she cut it open to reveal the coffin inside. She was given the best boat in Byblos, and She journed home to Egypt; finally hiding Osiris' body in the marshes by the Nile. One night, whilst Mighty Isis slept, Seth happened upon the Dead King. In a fury, He tore the body of Osiris into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout Egypt to ensure they would not all be found.”
Isis Resurrects Osiris from the Dead
“When Isis found the empty coffin, Her cries reached unto the heavens; even unto the ears of Her beloved Nephthys. She came to Isis' side, and the two sisters searched the land for the scattered body of Osiris. For many sad years the Daughters of Nuit wandered through Egypt. Everywhere They found a fragment They built a shrine. At last, all the pieces were gathered; with the exception of the God's phallus. Isis reassembled Osiris' body, and fashioned a phallus of pure gold to replace the lost member. She wrapped the body in cloth and perfumed it with many scents. Thus was Osiris whole again, and mummification was created. [Source: Theology WebSite]
“Isis then transformed Herself into the form of a swallow, and with Her wings She fanned the Breath of Life into Her husband. The Lord of Eternity arose, restored to life at last. But it was only to last for the length of one night, so that He and Isis could conceive their Divine Son Horus. Because of the loss of His phallus, He could not return to the land of the living. Instead, Re-Atum made Him the King of the Dead in the relm of the Beautiful West. From that time onwards, every Egyptian knew that death was nothing to fear, for his spirit would live on in the Kingdom of Osiris.
“Even Horus could not have been come into being had not His Half-Brother Anubis sacrificed a day of His own life so that Horus could be born. The Young God lived a perilous childhood, yet survived to grow strong and proud. Soon He came of age and set out to fullfill His destiny-to pull the Crown from His uncle, Seth, and thus avenge His Father's death and claim His place as rightful Heir to the Throne.”
Osiris and Mummification
Mark Smith of the University of Oxford wrote: “Osiris provided a model whereby the effects of this rupture could be reversed, for the god underwent a twofold process of resurrection. Just as mummification restored his corporeal integrity, so too justification against Seth and the events that followed it restored his social position and re-integrated him within the hierarchy of the gods. These two concepts, mummification and justification, are intimately linked. The latter has been described, with good reason, as “moral mummification”. In obtaining justice against Seth, Osiris regained full life, since his death was an injustice. [Source: Mark Smith, University of Oxford, UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology 2008, escholarship.org <>]
“By his justification, he gained total mastery over death. In the same way that Osiris was restored to life and declared free of wrongdoing, so all who died hoped to be revived and justified, as a result of the mummification process and its attendant rituals. These actually incorporated an assessment of the deceased’s character, which prefigured the one conducted in the underworld. A favorable assessment helped to ensure their integration into the society of gods and blessed spirits in the afterlife, just as the embalming restored their corporeal integrity. Conversely, an unfavorable assessment resulted in torment, which began even while the victim still lay on the embalmer’s table. From this it should be evident that, if justification can be described as “moral mummification,” it is no less accurate to speak of mummification as “corporeal justification.” <>
“At the end of the embalming rites, having been returned to life and freed from imputation of wrongdoing, the deceased was endowed with an Osiris-aspect. In fact, the performance of such rites was sometimes described as “giving an Osiris to” someone. Many Egyptian texts for the afterlife are addressed or refer to “the Osiris of” an individual—that aspect or form which the dead person acquired through the efficacy of the rituals performed for his benefit in the embalming place, and in which he was supposed to endure for the rest of eternity.” <>
Death: Becoming an Osiris Follower in the Underworld
Mark Smith of the University of Oxford wrote: “Acquisition of this Osiris-aspect did not involve identification with the deity himself, contrary to what is said in many books on Egyptian religion. Rather, it meant that the deceased was admitted to the god’s following and became one of his devotees in the underworld. Thus it was a unio liturgica rather than a unio mystica. Unlike the latter, the former does not involve a personal, individual identification with a deity, but rather adherence to that deity’s sphere. It means being admitted to a body of worshippers, a cultic community, whose members perform the “liturgy” of a deity. In this particular instance, the community was composed of the inhabitants of the next world. By participating in their worship, the dead person acquired the same status as theirs. Since they were, in the first instance, divine beings themselves, the deceased acquired divine status as well, and with it, immortality. Thus, the concept of unio liturgica involves an element of identification, but this is collective rather than individual. The deceased was identified with a constellation of adoring deities, not the object of their devotion. [Source: Mark Smith, University of Oxford, UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology 2008, escholarship.org <>]
“The Osirian form was an outward mark of an individual’s status as a member of this community of worshippers. Both men and women could be endowed with the form in question. The gender difference between the latter and the god posed no obstacle to a woman’s acquisition of an Osirian aspect, since females as well as males were eligible to join in his worship. This sort of relationship between form and status has a striking parallel in Papyrus Louvre E 3452, a demotic collection of transformation spells written for a priest named Imhotep who died in 57 or 56 B.C. . By virtue of these spells, he was supposed to be able to assume various non-human forms in the afterlife—falcon, ibis, phoenix, dog, and serpent—each associated with a particular deity. But assumption of such a form does not result in him becoming that deity. Instead, the text says that he will follow or serve the god in question. In fact, its title states specifically that the purpose of undergoing such transformations is to enable the deceased to “follow any god of any temple and to worship him according to his wish in the course of every single day”. Here too, acquisition of a form associated with a particular deity results not in identification but in assumption of the role of devotee. <>
“As the evidence of this text shows, the Egyptian verb that best describes the relationship between the god Osiris and the Osiris of a deceased person is not xpr, “become,” but rather Sms, “follow”. The dead person can be said to follow the deity in two distinct senses: on the one hand, he joins the retinue of Osiris’s worshippers; on the other, through the efficacy of the mummification rites, which reconstitute his corporeal and social selves, he follows in Osiris’s footsteps by undergoing the same twofold process of resurrection previously undergone by that god. <>
“Some have attempted to minimize the distinction between “becoming” and “following” in this context. Assmann, for instance, claims that becoming Osiris and being introduced to that god’s cultic sphere are simply “two faces of the same medal,” both being parts of the deceased’s initiation into the underworld. This assessment is influenced unduly by Greek mystery religion, in which a devotee is actually identified with the divinity he worships. The Egyptian conception is very different. The Coffin Texts include a number of spells for becoming various deities, including one, Spell 227, with the title “Transformation into Osiris”. This utterance was supposed to ensure the beneficiary’s identification with that deity, yet it was to be employed by someone who had already been endowed with an Osirian form. If that form was, in itself, sufficient to ensure identification with the god, what was the purpose of the spell? In another utterance, Spell 4, the Osiris of a deceased person is addressed with the words “You will become Osiris”. Once again, the individual already possesses an Osirian form, yet his becoming Osiris is treated as a future event, something that has not yet taken place. These examples show clearly that, from an ancient Egyptian perspective, acquisition of an Osirian form and identification with that deity are two totally separate things.” <>
Honoring Osiris at His Cult Center in Abydos
Osiris’s head was thought to have been buried at Abydos, his main cult center. Each year, during his festival, there was a procession and a reenactment of his story, death and resurrection in the form of a mystery play. Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner wrote in Archaeology magazine: “The ancient Egyptians celebrated Osiris, the god of death and regeneration, at the cult center of Abydos in Upper Egypt for thou-sands of years. Beginning in the early second millennium B.C., the site drew people from all walks of life to participate in a festival that dramatized the god's postmortem transformation. During the festival's main procession, which traveled more than half a mile across the desert from Osiris' temple to his tomb, priests carried statues of the god and his divine retinue in boat^shaped shrines. Along the way Osiris' murder was dramatically reenacted. Upon reaching the subterranean tomb, priests performed rituals intended to regenerate his inert, mummified body When the reborn Osiris emerged from his tomb to return to the temple, the assembled crowd roared and rejoiced in celebration of the god's victory over his enemies and the triumph of the individual over death. For the ancient Egyptians, Osiris' death and rebirth served as a model for their own immortality. [Source: Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner, Archaeology, January-February 2013 ^|^]
“The Osiris myth also had political significance. The Egyptians believed that, in the far distant past, the god had ruled Egypt. After his brother Seth murdered and dismembered him, Osiris' wife and sister, the goddess Isis, reassembled the scatrtered parts. Isis then reanimated the god's body long enough to conceive a son named Horus, whom she raised in secret. When he was old enough, Horus challenged Seth's right to rule. A divine tribunal judged Horus the rightful heir to the throne of Egypt. For millennia the myth served as a model for the passing of kingship from father to son. ^|^
“In their eagerness both to secure their own access to the afterlife and to legitimize their lines of succession, royal patrons and elite members of society built mudbrick chapels and erected elaborately carved limestone stelae along the processional route to Osiris' temple. Those with fewer resources set up simpler markers or left behind small flakes of limestone painted with their names. Many also brought offerings of food, drink, and incense in coarse pottery cups — hundreds of which have been found on the site — evidence of popular religious practices preserved only in the archaeological record.^|^
“Royal patrons and elite members of society often placed funerary figurines (shabtis) shaped like mummies near Osiris' tomb. These sometimes bore the names of their dedicators or deceased family members and were provided to perform any work the dead might require in the afterlife. Many shabtis were made of faience, a quintessentially Egyptian material made of easily molded silica-rich paste that, when fired, produced a glazed surface resembling enamel. The most typical color of faience is turquoise— a result of super-heating the copper in the paste— which symbolized birth and regeneration. These examples were found in the tomb of an elite individual dating to about 1100 b.c The tomb had been built inside a chapel that was approximately 150 years older. Although the tomb had been robbed long before the 2011 excavations, the plunderers had left behind almost 50 shabtis, which provide both the name and titles of the tomb's owner, possibly "Priest of the [house of] bread, Shed-Aset." A later clay shabti (below, third from left) also found in this context points to the tomb's reuse. The shabti's back (below, right) bears a small fingerprint likely belonging to the child who made it.” ^|^
Osiris Procession at the Khoiak Festival at Abydos
On the so-called Khoiak Festival at Abydos. Martin Stadler of Wuerzburg University wrote: “For the Middle Kingdom, the procession of the underworld god Osiris during the Khoiak Festival is well documented. The procession can be reconstructed as follows: It left the god’s temple at Abydos to visit his desert burial place, called Pqr (“Poker”), located in what is known today as Umm el-Qa’ab, the Pre- and Early Dynastic royal necropolis of Abydos. At this site is situated the tomb of 1st-Dynasty king Djer (2974 – 2927 B.C.), which was considered to be that of Osiris from (at least) around 2000 B.C. onward. [Source: Martin Stadler, Wuerzburg University, UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology 2008, escholarship.org <>]
“Thus the procession of the deceased royal god Osiris combined both royal and funereal elements. The exact route the procession took to Poker is not entirely certain, but the great number of Middle Kingdom stelae and chapels lining the so-called “terrace of the great god” (rwd n nTr aA) behind the temple of Osiris indicates that here the nSmt, the sacred bark of Osiris, passed by—an indication reinforced by the stelae’s recurrent formula expressing the dedicatees’ hope of seeing the “perfection” (nfrw) of Osiris. Seeing Osiris’s perfection was a symbol of having passed the judgment at death and of having entered the hereafter. The North and Middle cemeteries adjacent to the Abydene “terrace of the great god” may themselves be seen as flanking the processional way into the desert to the aforementioned tomb of Djer. <>
“The procession’s exact structure, however, is still quite obscure, because the activities of the feast itself were kept secret. The Khoiak Festival probably comprised multiple processions, with the procession of Wepwawet (prt Wp-wAwt) preceding the “great procession” (prt aAt) of Osiris. It is likely that during these processions the myth of Osiris was dramatically re-enacted, or at least recited. Further evidence, consisting of inscriptions and scenes in the Osiris chapels on the roof of the late Ptolemaic-early Roman Hathor temple at Dendara, may give us some idea of these Khoiak “mysteries.” Despite the late date of these attestations there is reason to consider that parts of the texts can be traced as far back as the Middle Kingdom.” <>
On a festival held in conjunction the Khoiak Festival during Ptolemic and Roman times, Filip Coppens of Charles University, Prague wrote: “The “Festival of the Coronation of the Sacred Falcon” (xaw nswt) was but one of many examples of this type of feast. It was celebrated during the first days of the month of Tybi and is depicted in detail on the inner face of the temple’s enclosure wall. The festival followed almost immediately upon the feasts surrounding the internment and resurrection of the god Osiris, in his role as ruler of Egypt and father of Horus, at the end of the month of Khoiak. On the first day of the fifth month of the year, Horus, as the son and legitimate heir of Osiris, assumed the kingship over the two lands. The annual Festival of the Coronation of the Sacred Falcon can be seen as a re-enactment of both Horus and the ruling pharaoh taking their rightful place upon the throne of Egypt. The main events of this festival consisted of a series of processions within the temple precinct. The main stages of the feast included: a procession of the falcon-headed statue of Horus from the sanctuary to the “Temple of the Sacred Falcon”, located in front of the main temple; the election of a sacred falcon, reared within the temple precinct, as the heir of the god; the display of this falcon (from the platform between the two wings of the pylon) to the crowd of people gathered in front of the temple; the falcon’s coronation in the temple; and, finally, a festive meal in the “Temple of the Sacred Falcon”. Another important festival in the temple of Edfu of which more than the name has been preserved is the “Festival of Victory” (Hb qnt) depicted on the interior of the enclosure wall. [Source: Filip Coppens, Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University, UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology 2009, escholarship.org ]
Isis, the Popular Egyptian Goddess of Magic and Motherly Love
Isis was the Goddess of Maternity and Magic. The wife and sister of Osiris and the mother of Horus, she was often topless and dressed in a red dress. Arguably the most popular member of the Egyptian pantheon, she was originally a local god in northern Egypt and was admired her magical powers and for her devotion to her husband and son. Isis and Nephthys and Neith and Selket — or Bast, and Hathor — were the four female benefactors of the dead, guarding coffins and Canopic jars. Isis was in charge of protecting the jar containing the liver. The four sons of Horus---Imsety, Hapy, Qebhsenuef and Duamutef---guarded the shrines of internal organs among other duties. During the Roman period she was even worshiped in London. Her cult of the divine mother lasted until it was superseded by that of the Virgin Mary. Also See Pyramid Texts, Funerals, Judgement.
Mark Millmore wrote in discoveringegypt.com: “Isis was associated with funeral rites and said to have made the first mummy from the dismembered parts of Osiris. As the enchantress who resurrected Osiris and gave birth to Horus, she was also the giver of life, a healer and protector of kings. Isis is represented with a throne on her head and sometimes shown breastfeeding the infant Horus. In this manifestation she was known as “Mother of God.” To the Egyptians she represented the ideal wife and mother; loving, devoted, and caring. Her most famous temple is at Philae though her cult spread throughout the Mediterranean world and, during the Roman period, extended as far as northern Europe. [Source: Mark Millmore, discoveringegypt.com discoveringegypt.com]
Minnesota State University, Mankato Isis is sister of Nephthys with whom she acted as a divine mourner for the dead, and is divinely represented by the Ankh...She is also known as The Queen of Heaven (similar to Astarte), and rules over all matters concerning life, mothering, and sorcery. In the origin myth of Re and the world, it was written that she found out Re's name by enchanting a poisonous snake to bite him. The snake bit Re, and Isis could only heal him by knowing Re's true name. By knowing Re's name, she then had power equal to him and was then given all of her magical power and was thenceforth known as the divine sorceress. Another of the Isian myths concerns, both Isis, Osiris, and Horus. In this myth, Set kills Osiris and scatters his body in fourteen pieces around the world. Isis goes to find these pieces. After she find all of the peices, she reassembles Osiris and he comes back to life for one night during which Isis conceives their son, Horus. Osiris then becomes Lord of the Dead. Horus was given birth to and was committed to avenging his fathers death by killing Set. Isis from then on lived as the divine mourner on earth and in heaven. [Source: Minnesota State University, Mankato, ethanholman.com]
Isis Receives the True and Hidden Name of Re
The myth of how Isis Receives the True and Hidden Name of Re goes: “Now Isis was a woman who possessed Words of Power; Her heart was wearied with the millions of men, therefore she chose the millions of the Gods, but She esteemed more hightly the millions of the Spirits. And she meditated in her heart, saying, "Cannot I, by means of the Sacred Name of Divinity, make Myself Mistress of the Earth and become a Goddess like unto Re in heaven and upon earth?" [Source: Internet Archive, from an AOL-Wiccan Site]
“Now, behold, each day Re entered at the head of His holy mariners and established Himself upon the Throne of the Two Horizons. Now the Divine One had grown old, He dribbled at the mouth, His spittle fell upon the earth, and His slobbering dropped upon the ground. And Isis kneaded it with earth in Her hand, and formed thereof a Sacred Serpent in the form of a dart; She did not set it upright before Her face, but let it lie upon the ground in the path whereby the Great God went forth, according to His heart's desire, into His double Kingdom.
“Now the Holy God arose, and the Gods who followed Him as though He were Pharoah went with Him; and He came forth according to His daily wont; and the Sacred Serpent bit Him. The flame of life departed from Him, and He who dwelt amoung the ceders was overcome. The Holy God opened His mouth, and the cry of His Majesty reached unto heaven; His company of Gods said, "What hath happened?" and His Gods exclaimed, "What is it?". But Re could not answer, for his jaws trembled and all his members quaked; the poison spread swiftly through His flesh just as the Nile rusheth through all His land.
“When the Great God had established His heart, He cried unto Those who were in His train, saying, "Come unto me, O Ye who have come into being from My body, Ye Gods who have come forth from Me, make Ye known unto Khephera that a dire calamity hath fallen upon Me. My heart percieveth it, but My eyes see it not; My hand hath not caused it, nor do I know who hath done this unto Me. Never hath I felt such pain, neither can sickness cause more woe than this. I am a prince, the son of a prince, the Sacred Essence which hath proceeded from Divinity. I am the Great One, the Son of the Great One, and my Father planned My Name; I have multitudes of Names and multitudes of Forms, and my Being is in every God. I have proclaimed by the heralds Temu and Horus, and My Father and my Mother uttered My Name; but it hath been hidden within Me by Him that begat Me, who would not that the Words of Power of any seer should have dominion over Me. I came forth to look upon that which I had made, I was passing through the World which I had created, when lo! something stung Me, but what I know not. Is it fire? Is is water? My heart is on fire, My flesh quaketh, and trembling hath siezed all My limbs. Let there be brought unto Me My Children, the Gods, who possess the Words of Power and Magickal Speech, and mouths which know how to utter them, and also powers which reach even unto the Heavens."
“Then the Children of every God came unto Him uttering cries of grief. And Isis also came, bringing with Her Her Words of Magickal Power, and Her mouth was full of the Breath of Life; for Her Talismans vanquish the pains of sickness, and Her Words make to live again the throats of those who are dead. And she spake, saying, "What hath come to pass, O' Holy Father? What hath happened? Is it that a serpent hath bitten Thee, and that a thing which thou hast created hath lifted up its head against Thee? Verily it shall be cast down by My effective Words of Power, and I will drive it away from before the sight of Thy sunbeams."
“The Holy God opened His mouth and said, "I was passing along my path, and I was going through the two regions of My lands according to My heart's desire, to see that which I had created, when lo! I was bitten by a serpent which I saw not. Is it fire? Is it water? I am colder than water, I am hotter then fire. All My flesh sweateth, I quake, My Eye hath no strength, I cannot see the sky, and the sweat rusheth to My Face even as in the time of summer."
“Then said Isis unto Re, "Oh tell Me Thy Name, Holy Father, for whosoever shall be delivered by Thy Name shall live." And Re said, "I have made the Heavens and the Earth, I have knit together the mountains, I have created all that is above them, I have made the water, I have made to come into being the Goddess Meht-urt, and I have made the 'Bull of His Mother', from whom spring the delights of love. I have made the heavens, I have stretched out the two horizons like a curtain, and I have placed the soul of the Gods within them. I am He who, if He openeth His eyes, doth make the Light, and, if He closeth them, Darkness cometh into being. At His command the Nile riseth, and the Gods know not His Name. I have made the hours, I have created the days, I bring forward the festivals of the year, I create the Nile-flood. I make the Fire of Life, and I provide food in the houses. I am Khephera in the morning, I am Re at noon, and I am Temu at even."
“Meanwhile, the poison was not taken away from His body, but it pierced deeper, and the Great God could no longer walk. Then said Isis unto Re, "What Thou hast said is not Thy Name. O tell it unto Me, and the poison shall depart; for He shall live whose Name shall be revealed." Now the poison burned like fire, and it was fiercer than the flame and the furnace, and the majesty of the Great God said, "I consent that Isis shall search into Me, and that My Name shall pass from me into Her." Then the God hid himself from the Gods, and His place in the Boat of Millions of Years was empty. And when the time had arrived for the heart of Re to come forth, Isis spake wnto Her son Horus, saying, "The God hath bound Himself by Oath to deliver up His Two Eyes."
“Thus was the Name of the Great God taken from Him, and Isis, the Lady of Words of Magickal Power, said, "Depart, poison, go forth from Re. O, Eye of Horus, go forth from the God, and shine outside His mouth. It is I who work, it is I who make to fall down upon the earth the vanquished poison, for the Name of the Great God hath been taken away from Him. Let Re live, and let the poison die! Let the poison die, and let Re live!" These are the words of Isis, the Mighty Lady, the mistress of the Gods, who knew Re by His own Name.”
Isis Mystery Cults
Kiki Karoglou of the Metropolitan Museum of Art wrote: “Isis was another Eastern goddess whose cult spread all over the Mediterranean. Similar to Demeter, Isis was considered a law giver and protector of the crops, while ritual purification and secret rites were performed in her honor. In pharaonic Egypt, Isis was sister and wife of Osiris (god of the afterlife) and mother of Horus, whom she appears suckling. In the Greek world, the earliest temple dedicated to Isis was founded in Athens in the fourth century B.C. The cult spread rapidly during the third century B.C. and was linked closely to the political and military activities of the Ptolemies. By this time the consort of Isis was Sarapis or Serapis, a syncretic god created in Egypt, who represented the boundary between life and death and was identified with Hades and Asklepios. Harpokrates, their son, is often portrayed with his finger touching the lips in a gesture intended to ensure secrecy. Numerous miniature bronzes and terracotta statuettes of Harpokrates survive and they probably derive from a Hellenistic prototype made in Alexandria. [Source: Kiki Karoglou, Department of Greek and Roman Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2013, metmuseum.org \^/]
“The cult of Isis arrived at Rome at the end of the second century B.C. and reached its height during the second century A.D. The two most informative texts are Plutarch's essay On Isis and Osiris and Apuleius' Metamorphoses, especially book eleven. Both works combine features of other mysteries and contain rather generic descriptions of initiation rites. Inscriptions, on the other hand, provide some evidence for the organization of the cult, which seems to have been modeled on the Egyptian priesthood. Initially, only males served as priests for both Isis and Sarapis. In time, as the cult of Isis predominated, women were allowed to become priestesses. There were two notable departures from earlier mystery cults: the term mystes does not appear in Isiac inscriptions and continued service to the goddess and close relationships with the sanctuary were required. \^/
“Not simply an end in itself, initiation belonged to a series of steps leading to higher service. Initiates of Isis shaved off their hair, wore linen garments, and carried the sistrum, the characteristic percussion instrument for the cult, also of Egyptian origin. Like the cymbals of Kybele, the rattling noise it produced was imbued with magical and protective qualities. Over time, the hierarchy grew more complex, yet no central authority seems to have existed and the various temples were quite independent. Isis remained a distinctively Egyptian goddess and her cult maintained a clear Egyptian identity, even after the conquests of Alexander and the Romans.” \^/
Horus, the Falcon-headed Patron of Kings
Horus was the falcon-headed sky god and the divine protector and patron of kings. He was the son of Osiris and Isis and the enemy of his wicked uncle, the god Seth. Isis gave birth to Horus after Seth murdered Osiris and usurped his throne. She hid Horus him from Seth by concealing him under her magic hair. Horus was king of the living. He is often identified with protection and associated with pharaohs.
Horus is depicted as a falcon or as a man with the head of a falcon. Sometimes he is shown as a youth with a side lock, seated on his mother’s lap. He was worshipped throughout Egypt and was particularly associated with Edfu, the site of the ancient city of Mesen, where he was known as Horus the Behdetite and his temple can still be seen. There were also major Horus cult-centers in Behdet in the Nile Delta and Hierakonpolis. [Source: Mark Millmore, discoveringegypt.com discoveringegypt.com]
“Horus (Haroeris, Harpocrates, Harsiesis, Re-Harakhty) was originally the sky-god and was introduced the Great Ennead, giving the group nine members. He was identified with the living king. There are many stories of his battles with Seth. He was raised by his mother to avenge his father's murder, After a struggle that lasted 80 years, Horus defeated Seth and became the king of Egypt. The eye of Horus — which represents strength, vitality and self-sacrifice — came from a myth in which Horus gave up his right eye in battle with Seth. [Source: Minnesota State University, Mankato, ethanholman.com, \+\Barbara Waterson, BBC, March 29, 2011]
“Haroeris: was a form of Horus. The 'Elder Horus'; he was identified with the falcon-god and particularly the patron of the king. Harpocrates (Hor-Pa-Khred) was a late form of Horus in his aspect of being son of Isis and Osiris. He was represented as a naked child wearing the lock of youth and holding one finger to his mouth. Harsiesis was a form of Horus, specifically designated 'son of Isis'. \+\
Horus Versus Seth and Pharaonic Rule
On the fight between Horus and Seth at the beginning of creation, Lee Huddleston of the University of North Texas wrote: “Father Geb faced a unique problem. Atum had resigned his rule to his only son, Shu; Shu in turn gave way for his only son, Geb. Geb had two sets of twins from Nut's one pregnancy. When it came time for him to turn over control of earth [EGYPT], he had two sons from which to choose the next ruler. Some stories suggest he may have divided Egypt; others say he gave it all to Osiris and gave the rest of the world to Seth. Whatever the circumstance may have been, Seth was unhappy with his lot. He murdered his brother, Osiris; cut his body into small pieces, and threw them into the NILE. There, Osiris merged with, and became the River. Isis, assisted by her sister, Nepthys, found all the pieces of Osiris except the phallus. Isis hovered over him imploring him to arise and impreg-nate her. Miraculously, Osiris did revive, and did impregnate his wife before passing to the West, the home of Atum, where he became the Spirit in whom the souls of the righteous dead would eventually find salvation. [Source: Lee Huddleston, Ancient Near East Page, January, 2001, Internet Archive, from UNT \=/]
“In term, Isis gave birth to Horus. She hid him from his uncle, Seth, until he was eighteen. Then she presented Horus to the Council of the Gods arguing that, as the only son of Osiris, Horus ought to be given his father's realm [Egypt]. Geb was unable to decide whether the young Horus or the older and stronger Seth should rule. There followed a series of contendings between the ex-ruler's brother and his son to determine which of them was best suited to rule Egypt. In the process, Seth was tricked into admitting that a son's rights of inheritance took precedence over the rights of a brother; and into the appearance of having dishonored himself. As a result of these contendings, the following conventions evolve.
“1) Horus is always Pharaoh, and Pharaoh was King of Egypt by Right of Divinity. (In actuality, not all Pharaohs claimed to be Horus; some identified with Seth, especially if they were involved with foreign lands or their capitals lay in Seth's land; others identified with their own preferred gods.) The idea of a Divine King persisted in the Mediterranean basin until the triumph of monotheistic religions more than 3400 years later. 2) Pharaoh, at first possessed sole right to enter Heaven, but by 2200 B.C. the spiritual dynamics of Salvation were understood and the Democratization of Heaven completed.
“3) The Rule of primogeniture was another victor in the struggle between Horus and Seth for the birthright of Osiris. Horus, Isis, and their supporters used the argument that Osiris, the first born son of Geb, rightfully owned Egypt and that his Domain should pass intact to his Son, not to his brother. Horus' victory was, retroactively, a victory for Osiris' contention in his earlier quarrel with Seth. The Institution called Primogeniture has endured for more than five thousand years, but has declined in social acceptance with the decay of the Institution called the Nobility.”
Coffin Text: The Tale of Horus and the Pig, from 1900 BC
Coffin Text: The Tale of Horus and the Pig, (c. 1900 B.C.): Why the Egyptians did not eat pork: “O Batit of the evening, you swamp-dwellers, you of Mendes, ye of Buto, you of the shade of Re which knows not praise, you who brew stoppered beer---do you know why Rekhyt [Lower Egypt] was given to Horus? It was Re who gave it to him in recompense for the injury in his eye. It was Re--he said to Horus: "Pray, let me see your eye since this has happened to it" [injured in the fight with Seth]. [Source: A. de Buck, “The Egyptian Coffin Texts,” (Chicago, 1918), p. 326, Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Egypt, Fordham University]
Then Re saw it. Re said: "Pray, look at that injury in your eye, while your hand is a covering over the good eye which is there." Then Horus looked at that injury. It assumed the form of a black pig. Thereupon Horus shrieked because of the state of his eye, which was stormy [inflamed]. Horus said: "Behold, my eye is as at that first blow which Seth made against my eye!" Thereupon Horus swallowed his heart before him [lost consciousness].
Then Re said: "Put him upon his bed until he has recovered." It was Seth---he has assumed form against him as a black pig; thereupon he shot a blow into his eye. Then Re said: "The pig is an abomination to Horus." "Would that he might recover," said the gods. That is how the pig became an abomination to the gods, as well as men, for Horus' sake...”
Seth (also known as Set, Setekh, Suty and Sutekh) was the son of Geb and Nut, and the evil brother of Osiris. The god of storms, darkness, chaos, confusion and violence, he murdered Osiris and was identified with many animals, including the pig, donkey, desert oryx, okapi, and hippopotamus, and sometimes represented as an animal of unidentified type. He murdered his brother of Osiris and was the enemy and rival of Horus. [Source: Minnesota State University, Mankato, ethanholman.com]
Barbara Waterson wrote for the BBC: “Seth, the Red God, god of the desert and promulgator of thunderstorms and violence, was represented as an animal, of a kind not yet identified by Egyptologists. He has the graceful body of a greyhound, but with a long, stiff, forked tail and square-topped ears unlike any of the canine family. He was one of Egypt's oldest deities, and the Egyptians had an ambivalent attitude towards him. They feared him for his capacity to do harm, yet admired his strength and ferocity. The Greeks equated him with the monster Typhon.” [Source: Barbara Waterson, BBC, March 29, 2011]
Mark Millmore wrote in in discoveringegypt.com: Seth “usurped the throne of Egypt and most of the other gods despised him. Horus eventually defeated Seth, but it was thought that their battle was an eternal struggle between good and evil. Although Seth failed to keep the throne of Egypt he continued to be a companion of Ra. He sometimes accompanied Ra across the sky in his solar boat, causing storms and bad weather. Seth was venerated by some, and his main cult center was at Naqada. Some kings would liken themselves to Seth in battle, but for the most part the people loathed him and his defeat by Horus was regularly celebrated.” [Source: Mark Millmore, discoveringegypt.com discoveringegypt.com]
Contention of Horus and Seth
The 80 Years of Contention Between Horus and Seth goes: “Horus, the Avenger of Osiris, came before the Great Ennead. With His Mother beside Him, He spoke of the cruel murder of His Father at the hands of Seth. He spoke of the usurption of the Throne of Egypt. The Gods were impressed by the eloquence of the Falcon-Headed One, and They pitied Him. Shu, Son of the Creator, was the first to speak: "Right should rule might. Mighty Seth hath force on His side, but Young Horus hath Justice. We shalt do Justice unto Horus by proclaiming, 'Yes! Ye shalt have the throne of Thy Father!'" Thoth, Lord of Wisdom, spake unto the Ennead, "This is right a million times!" Isis gave a great cry of Joy. She begged the North Wind to change direction Westward to whisper the news unto Osiris. Lord Shu declared, "Giving the Throne unto Horus seems right to the whole of the Ennead! Thoth shalt give the Royal signet ring to Horus. We shall crown Him with the White Crown!" [Source: Theology WebSite]
“And, to this, Seth proclaimed, "It is I who slay the Enemy of Re daily. It is I Who stand in the prow of the Bark of Millions of Years, and no other God can do it. It is I who should recieve the office of Osiris!" The Gods knew the Terrors of the Serpents of Chaos. They muttered that Seth was right. Horus, Lord of Light, spake and said, "Shall one give office to the uncle when the bodily Son is there?" Isis became furious at the Ennead for not speaking in favour of Her Son. She complained to Them until, for the sake of peace, They promised that Justice should be given unto Horus. Mighty Seth was angered. "How dare Ye cowards break Thine Oath! I shalt fetch My Great Septre and strike one of You down with it each day! I swear that I will not argue My case in any Court where Isis is present!" Re proclaimed, "We shall cross the river to the Island in the Midst, and try the case thereon. I shalt further order the ferryman not to ferry Isis across."
“Cunning Isis, the Mistress of Magick, changed Herself into a bent old woman. She carryied a jar of flour and honey cakes. She offered a golden ring to the ferryman to give Her passage, and They were soon across. She slipped through the trees, and towards the camp of the Ennead. The Gods were holding a feast, but Seth stood apart from the Divine Comapany. Isis had changed Her shape once more. She now appearing as a beautiful young woman, dressed as a widow. The Great Lady approached the Lord of Storm. "Who art Thou, my pretty?" asked Seth, "And why hast Thou come here?"
“Isis hid her face and wept, "O Great Lord, I am looking for a champion. I was the wife of a herdsman, and I bore for him a son. Then, my dear husband died, and the boy began to tend his father's cattle. But, lo! a stranger came and ceased our byre, and told my son that he would take our cattle and turn us out. My son wished to protest, but the stranger threatened to beat him. Great Lord, help me! Be my son's champion!"
“Seth heard Her words and dried Her tears. "Do not cry, my pretty. I shalt be your champion and destroy this villain! How dare a stranger take the father's property whilst the son is still alive!" Great Isis shrieked with laughter. She became a kite. She flew into an acacia tree. "Cry thyself, Mighty Seth! Ye hath condemed thyself! Thou hast judged Thine own case!" Seth was angered unto tears of rage. The Gods demanded to know what had transpired. He told Them of how He had been tricked by the cunning Lady Isis. Re said unto the Dark God, "It is true, Seth. Thou hast judged Thyself."”
Seth Rips Out the Eyes of Horus
“Now the Ennead crossed over the river and camped in the Western Mountains. Plans were made for the coronation of Horus. Seth, still, would not admit His defeat. He exclaimed, "I challenge You, Horus! Let us turn Ourselves into hippopatami and fight deep within the river! Who-so-ever surfaces first shall admit defeat!" Horus acccepted gladly, but Isis fell to the ground and wept, afraid that Seth would slay Her Son. The two Gods plunged into the depths of the river. The battle raged for many days. Vicotry inclined first to one side, and then to the other; and the heart of Isis suffered bitterly. She took yarn and copper; making them into a magickal harpoon. She threw the weapon into the white water. The copper point stabbed Horus in the flank; He surfaced and roared, "Mother! Thy spear hath pierced Me! Let me go!" [Source: Theology WebSite]
“Isis called to Her magic weapon to release Horus. It returned to Her hand. She threw it again, and this time it caught hold of Seth. With a bellow of pain Seth arose. "O My Sister, why must Thou always be My enemy? What have I done to Thee? I am Your Brother; Let Me go!" Great Isis' heart grew soft, and She released Her pleading Brother. Horus was furious with His Mother for the release of His enemy. He leaped out of the river, His face like a leopard, and cut off the head of Isis with one stroke of His copper knife. He then strode away towards the Mountains of the West. Isis, Mistress of Magick, calmly turned Her body into a statue; She walked towards the tent of Re. The Gods were horrified, even Thoth Himself. The Great God of Words of Power transformed Isis' head amd set it again upon Her shoulders in the form of that of a cow. The Ennead went into the Mountains of the West in search of Horus.
“The Young God had found an oasis. He was alseep in the shadow of a palm tree. Seth found Horus, seized hold of Him, threw Him down, removed His two Eyes from their sockets, and buried them on the mountain so as to illumine the earth. The two balls of His eyes became two bulbs which grew into lotuses. When He returned to the encampment, He told the Gods that He had found no trace of His nephew.
“Hathor, Lady of the Southern Sycamore, finally came upon the blinded God. She pityed His agony. She caught a gazelle and milked it, and then knelt beside the Young God, saying gently, "Uncover Your face." She dripped the milk onto His wounds. At once the pain vanished. "Open Your eyes," commanded Hathor. He obeyed and found that the healing Magick of the Goddess had restored His eyes and He could see again. Hathor returned to the Ennead and said, "Seth has been lying to you. He hath torn out the Eyes of Horus. I hath healed the Young God. He approacheth now!" Re called the Two Contendors before Him. He passed Divine Jugdment upon Them for Their wrong-doings. He demanded that They cease their quarreling. Seth appeared to agree. He invited Horus to stay with Him in His palace.”
Decisive, Deceptive Confrontation Between Seth and Horus and Their Sperm
“One evening, as the two lay together resting, Seth inserted his penis between the thighs of Horus. Horus, however, unknown to the Dark Lord of Storm, had caught Seth's semen in His hand. With the help of His mother, Isis, He placed His own semen upon lettuce growing in a garden; lettuce that Seth was to eat. Seth spake unto Horus, "Come, let us go, that I may contend with you in the Court." Within the Court, Seth declared, "Let the office of Ruler be given to Me, for as regards Horus who stands here, I have done a man's deed to Him." [Source: Theology WebSite]
“Horus laughed and said, "What Seth has said is false. Let the semen of Seth be called, and let us see from where it will answer."And so Thoth, the Self Created, called upon the semen of Seth. The answer came from a far-away marsh, where Isis had long since deposited it. Horus said, "Let mind be called, and let us see from where it will answer." Then Thoth laid His hand on the arm of Seth and said, "Come out, semen of Horus!" And it spake unto Him, "Where shall I come out?" Thoth said to it, "Come out of His ear." It replied to Him, "Should I come out of His ear, I who am Divine Seed?" Then it came out as a Golden Sun Disk upon the head of Seth. Seth became very angry, and He stretched forth His hand to seize the Golden Disk. In desperation, Seth demanded one more contest with Horus. Before the whole Ennead he declared, "Let both of us build a ship of stone. We shall race them down the Nile. Who-so-ever wins the race shall wear the Crown of Osiris." Horus agreed to the contest at once.
“Mighty Seth took up His club. He struck the top of a mountain. Then he built a huge ship of solid stone and dragged it to the river. Horus' ship was already afloat, for the Young God had secretly made a boat of pine and plastered it so as to appear as stone. Seth tried to launch His boat; it sank to the bottom of the Nile and the Ennead laughed. Seth leaped into the water. He turned Himself into a hippopotamus once more. He attacked the bark of Horus. The wooden boat splintered and sank. Horus grabbed His spear and thrust at Seth, but the Ennead shouted at Him to stop; He had to obey the command of the Great Gods of Annu.
“Horus made His complaint against Seth: "It is now eighty years We are in the Court, but They do not know how to judge amoung Us. I have contended with Him in the Hall of the Way of Truth. I was found right against Him. I have contended with Him in the Hall of the Horned Horus. I was found right against Him. I have contended with Him in the Hall of the Field of Rushes. I was found right against Him. I have contended with Him in the Hall of the Field Pool. I was found right against Him."”
Gods Choose Horus Over Seth
“In the Trial, Re-Atum asked this important question: "What shall We do about these two Gods, Who for eighty years now have been before the tribunal?" Geb, Lord of the Gods, commanded the Nine Gods gather to Him. He judged between Horus and Seth; He ended Their great quarrel. He made Seth as king of Southern Egypt, up to the place in which He was born, which is Su. And Geb made Horus king of Egypt in the land of Northern Egypt, up to the place in which His Father was drowned, which is the Division of the Two Lands. Thus Horus stood over one region, and Seth stood over one region. They made peace over the Two lands. That was the division of the Two Lands. [Source: Theology WebSite]
“Geb's words to Seth, "Go to the place in which You were born." Seth: Southern Egypt. Geb's words to Horus, "Go to the place where Your Father was drowned." Horus: Northern Egypt. Geb's words to Horus and Seth, "I have separated You."-Lower and Upper Egypt. Then Horus spake and said, "It is not good to defraud Me before the Ennead and to take the office of my Father Osiris from Me!" Shu and Thoth persuaded the Court to send a letter to Osiris. After a time, the messanger returned. He bore an angry letter from the King of the Dead. Osiris demanded to know why His son had been robbed of the throne. He demanded to know if the Gods had forgotten that it was He, Osiris, Who had given the world the precious gifts of barley and wheat.
“Re was offended at Osiris' words. He returned a letter of arrogance. After many days, another weary messenger returned. He bore a second letter from the King of the Dead. Thoth read it aloud: "How good are the deeds of the Ennead? Justice has sunk into the underworld. Now, listen to Me; The land of the Dead is full of demons who fear no God or Goddess. If I send them out into the world of the living they will bring back the hearts of evil-doers to the place of punishment. Who amoung You is more powerful than I? Even the Gods must come, at last, to the Beautiful West." At these words even the Creator was afraid. Then it seemed wrong to Geb that the portion of Horus was like the portion of Seth. So Geb gave to Horus His inheritance, for He is the Son of His Firstborn Son.
“Geb's words to the Nine Gods: "I have appointed Horus, the Firstborn, Him alone, Horus, the inheritance. To the Son of My Son, Horus, the Jackal of Southern Egypt...the First-Born Horus, the Opener of the Ways." Then Horus stood over the land. He is the uniter of this land, proclaimed in the Great Name Ta-tenen, South of His Wall, Lord of Eternity. Then sprouted the two Great Magickians upon His head. He is Horus who arose as King of Upper and Lower Egypt, who united the Two Lands in the Nome of the Wall, the place in which the Two Lands were united. Reed and papyrus were placed on the double door of the House of Ptah. That means Horus and Seth, pacified and united. They fraternized so as to cease quarrreling in whatever place They might be, being united in the House of Ptah, the Balance of the Two Lands in which Upper and Lower Egypt had been weighed.”
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, escholarship.org ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Egypt sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Tour Egypt, Minnesota State University, Mankato, ethanholman.com; Mark Millmore, discoveringegypt.com discoveringegypt.com; Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Discover magazine, Times of London, Natural History magazine, Archaeology magazine, The New Yorker, BBC, Encyclopædia Britannica, Time, Newsweek, Wikipedia, Reuters, Associated Press, The Guardian, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, World Religions edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); History of Warfare by John Keegan (Vintage Books); History of Art by H.W. Janson Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated September 2018