The Sacred Family of Abidos



In the ancient Egyptian mythology, Osiris was the Chief Judge of the dead in the under world, the husband of Isis and the father of Horus the younger. He was regarded as the reason for fertility of the land and the power of resurrection. On the other hand, Isis was the loyal wife of Osiris who suffered a lot during her journey of looking for the parts of her husband's body and protecting her son from his vicious uncle who was trying to kill him like his father. The myth of Isis and her great role in hunting for her husband's body is one of the most interesting and well known myths all over the world. It highlights the ancient Egyptians' belief in life after death and their interest in tales and stories about gods and goddesses.

The myth of Osiris was mainly an immortal god but he grew up to be a great leader among the humans. It says that in the moment of his birth, one of the people who were standing in the temple of Thebes heard a voice telling him that the lord of the whole world was born in that moment and asked him to tell all the people about that. Osiris served as the civilizing power for the savage and uncivilized people of Egypt since he asked them to behave in a more civilized and refined manner and taught them some spells and rituals to perform for their gods. He also taught them how to plant the corn and vines and other things that helped the people in being more civilized in their treatment. The major assistant of Osiris in his attempts for civilizing the people was Thuth who managed to invent music, astronomy, and other things including the alphabet letters and the names of things. Osiris is credited to spreading civilization not only in Egypt but also in the surrounding areas such as Ethiopia, Arabia and India. He taught the people of these uncivilized places many beneficial things such as the ways of plantation and built dames to protect them from the floods and to save the water. Osiris, the king, reached to Europe and killed one of the kings who refused to obey him and help him in achieving his noble goal. Isis was the ruler of Egypt and Thuth was her assistant during Osiris' journey.

- Seth, the Bad Brother

This conspiracy was motivated by Seth,s hatred and jealousy from his brother Osiris who managed to achieve victory and spread civilization in many countries all over the world. He plotted against Osiris and was assisted by the Queen of Ethiopia who bore grudge for Osiris for controlling over her throne. Seth prepared a handsomely decorated coffin that exactly suits for his brother and then held a banquet that involves Seth assistants and King Osiris. After having a nice time, the coffin was shown to the guests who were fascinated with its beauty. Seth said that the one whose measurements fit that coffin, would take it as a gift from me. While none of the guests,measurements was fit to the coffin, Osiris was the exactly suitable one. By the moment Osiris entered the coffin his vicious brother and his assistants closed it tightly in order to prevent any air from entering to the poor king and thus be suffocated and then threw the coffin in the Nile. Isis knew that her husband was assassinated during her visit to the city of Chemmis next to Thebes and the place where she received the news was called the Koptos or the city of mourning. At this moment, she was terribly sad to the extent that she could not move from her place and cut one of her locks as a sign of grief and wore the mourning clothes. Hostility of Seth towards Horus When Seth knew that Isis managed to find the coffin and the body of Osiris, he imprisoned her but her nephew Anubis who became later one of the major assistants of Osiris in the underworld saved her. After that Isis, by the help of some gods, gave birth of her son at the beginning of the spring.

Thuth, the god of wisdom, advised her to hide him in a secret place away from the eyes of her enemy until he become able to take revenge for his father. When Isis was looking for a place for hiding her son, she was very helpless and rejected by all the people and gods to the extent that she knocked on one of the doors asking for help but the woman shut the door against her face ruthlessly. Finally she hid him in a far island in Lower Egypt with the goddess Uazet in a place that no god or human being can reach it. Then she insisted on taking her revenge from the woman who slammed the door in her face by ordering the six scorpions that were accompanying her in the journey to bit the son of that woman. The mother of that poor boy asked all the people for help but they were rejecting her and shutting their doors in her face. At that moment she remembered the woman who looking for a shelter for her son and regretted for her sin. This repentance made the merciful goddess Isis forgive her and use her magical power to save the son from this poison and keep him healthy for his mother like Horus is healthy for his mother.

The spell that Isis used for saving the young child was used for curing the people who are beaten by the snake or scorpion. Isis is regarded as one of the most self sacrificing mothers in the ancient Egyptian mythology who suffered a lot for hiding her son and protecting him and preparing him. This appears clearly in the story that highlights her sufferance when she disguised as a beggar woman to bring food for her little son and when she came back she found Horus crying of pain and no one and nothing makes him pleases him. At that time, Thuth came and told her that the reason for that was a bit of a scorpion and that Ra was worried about him and said that the sun would not rise until Horus recovers. Thuth said a long charm that helped the son in getting the poison out of his body and then foretold Isis that he would be the lord of the two lands and would defeat his enemy. Horus grew up to be the sun god after the retirement of his grandfather Ra and managed to defeat his uncle and take his revenge. After that he placed the body of his father in a boat and sail before the people in Abydus to celebrate the occasion and gratify the god of the dead.

- The Secret Relation of Nephthys and Osiris

Nephthys was the younger sister of Isis and Osiris and the wife of Seth. After the assassination of Osiris, some rumors said that he had has some secret love affairs with Nephthys and that she became pregnant from him. Isis knew that this story was true but she managed to forgive her sister after that. Isis succeeded in gaining her sister's support when she managed to save the newborn baby from Nephthys attempt to kill him at the moment of giving birth for him. After that moment both Nephthys and her son Anubis became great supporters for Isis and helped her during the search for the coffin and the body of her husband.

- Isis, the Loyal Wife

 

There are some inscriptions on the walls of the temples that indicate a very enchanting mourning song that the Isis and Nephthys were singing for mourning their brother Osiris. Isis suffered a lot during her journey of searching for the coffin that encloses the body of her husband and was assisted by her sister, her nephew Anubis, and Thuth. She was asking all the people about the coffin, until a group of children told her that they saw it floating in the Nile during the flood nearby Byblos. The waves carried it away to that area and then it was lifted next to the branched of a tamarisk tree nearby the shore. This tree managed to hide the coffin of the king inside its huge trunk but unfortunately the king of Byblos was fascinated with the tree and order to cut it and use it as a pillar for supporting the court's ceiling. The beautiful goddess Isis reached that place and sat quietly next to the shore and when the women of the palace saw her they were fascinated with her style of clothing and hair dressing. She taught them how to do that and became a friend for the queen of the palace who invited her for living in their palace.

Isis knew that one of the sons of the king was very ill and promised them to help him to regain his health, but on the condition that no one would try to see what she is doing or ask her how she did that. Isis used her magical power to make the child immortal and save him from all the diseases of the mortal beings. But during one of her sessions with the boy, the mother tried to see what she is doing and she was shocked by the scene and took the child from her and this hindered Isis from helping him. She told them the whole truth about being a goddess and her noble attempt to make their son as immortal and always young being and this made them try to reward her and give her any thing she wants. Isis said that she wants the pillar that supports the court roof and the king gave it to her. She cut it into pieces and took the coffin of her husband from it. When Isis saw the coffin she mourned her husband in a highly tragic way that made two of the sons of the king die one after another of sadness for her. She took the coffin in a boat and went to the Delta. After their return, Isis used the magical power and said some spells and managed to return Osiris to life and held a relation with him and became pregnant in a baby boy who was her son Horus the younger. This pillar of Byblos appears on the walls of Osiris's temples and was called the pillar of the djed. This pillar was worshiped for a period of time and was used as a symbol for several things. Some times it refers to the fertility pole and other times as a symbol for the backbone of Osiris. The wall paintings in Sakkara pyramid, for instance, present this pillar as the pillar that holds the sky. When Seth knew that Isis found the body of her husband he got mad and his desire for destroying his body increased. One day, he went out at night for hunt and he saw the beautiful coffin that he prepared for his brother and he opened it and cut the body into 14 pieces and threw it into the Nile. The loyal wife Isis traveled on a fragile papyrus boat looking for the parts of her husband's body. She found some parts of it eaten by beasts and fish of the Nile but she collected the major part of the body.

Whenever she found a piece she built a tomb for it and asked priests of this one to protect it from Seth in exchange for a piece of land of Osiris. This justifies the fact that there are several tombs for Osiris. Some historians say that she was not keeping the piece of the body in these tombs but was making it as a camouflage for Seth and that she took all the parts for Horus hoping that he would be able to return them. After gathering the remaining parts together and making a mold for the missing part Isis, Anubis, Thuth and Horus embalmed the body and enshrouded it with the white clothes of the dead people and put it in the Temple of Abydos. The myth says that the thing that helped Osiris of being eternal is that Horus put his eye in the mouth of his father to eat and then Osiris regained his power and became the chief god of the mortal dead souls. There are several temples for worshiping Osiris and his wife Isis who may be buried either in her temple in Memphis or in Philae. There are many inscriptions on the walls of these temples demonstrating the way in which Set assassinated his brother and the way of recollecting the parts of his body.






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