The Good Sister, Nephthys

Nephthys is a minor goddess of the Ennead that was known as the wife of Seth and the mother of Anubis the Jackal-headed god of death in the ancient Egyptian mythology. There is no reference that highlights that she was once worshiped in any place in Egypt. Yet she played a great role in the worship of Osiris.

Nephthys was usually embodied as a woman of a headdress with handsome hieroglyphic inscriptions of her name and some signs that describe her as the Lady of the House. Most of her depictions present her with her sister Isis such as those in the Seti I and Ramsses III. Those two sisters were always presented as two faces of the same coin since Nephthys was a symbol for death and decay and was associated to darkness, while Isis was a symbol for life and associated with day and light. Some carvings also present a picture of her standing with her sister behind Osiris and the Book of Dead explains that she supported Isis in collecting the parts of Osiris' body and his rebirth. As it is recorded in some vignettes, Nephthys accompanied by other goddesses was responsible for guarding the organs of the dead people. She is one of the four goddesses that appear guarding the funeral chests of Tutankhamun in the Egyptian museum now and also on shepenkhonsu's mummy catonnage.

One of the rare but interesting myths in which Nephthys played a major role is the myth of the secret love affair between Osiris and her that was discovered by her husband Seth. Due to this, it was suspected that Anubis was the son of Seth.


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