The Goddess Isis, with wings outstretched

Isis (also known as Aset or Eset or Auset) is an ancient Egyptian goddess who is associated with magick, healing, reincarnation, fertility, motherhood, and marriage.   She represents the maternal instinct in its most intimate form.   Her colors are white, gold, and cobalt blue. She is often depicted (in statues) suckling young Horus, her son.   She is one of the earliest and most important goddesses.   She is "the One and the Many."   She has 10,000 names (including Lady of Heaven, Daughter of the Earth and Sky, Great Enchantress, Great of Magick, Goddess of Love, and Giver of Life).   Proclus tells us that there was a statue of her which bore the inscription "I am that which is, has been, and shall be."   She was embraced by the Greeks and the Romans (who called her Stella Maris, the Star of the Sea); the actual period of her prominence dates from 2700 BCE until ca. 400 CE.   One source says that King Enkidu of Babylon established the Order of Isis in 6200 BCE at Elam; supposedly they represented Isis as a winged cobra with a woman’s head.   At one time, the worship of Isis almost became the dominant world religion, but was beaten out by the militant violence of Christianity (during the Fourth Century CE).

Chapter clvi of the Theban Rescension of the Book of the Dead (also known as the Book of Going Forth by Day) was composed for the purpose of bestowing upon the deceased some of the magickal powers of Isis.   The words were to be recited over a tyet amulet made of carnelian which had been steeped in water of ankhami flowers.   The words of the chapter were:

Let the blood of Isis, and the magickal powers [spirits] of Isis, and the words of power of Isis, be mighty to protect and keep safely this great one and to guard him from the one who would do unto him anything harmful.

An alternate translation reads, "Blood of Isis, words of power of Isis, glory of Isis, it is a protection for this great one, a protection against wickedness."

She is depicted variously as follows:

1.   Wearing a headdress made of horns and a solar disc.
2.   Wearing a headdress resembling a three-stepped throne.   The word "Isis" means "throne," and she is associated with the throne of Egypt.
3.   On one knee, with wings outstretched.
4.   Standing, with her two wings held forward.
5.   Standing, carrying an ankh (after 1500 BCE).

She is one of a very few winged deities in Egyptian mythology.

Lychnapsia, the Festival of Lights, the traditional birthday of Isis, is August 12.   This festival (which foreshadows the Candlemas Day of Catholicism), commemorates the time when Isis searched for Osiris (who had been killed by Set, and his body cut into pieces) at night by torchlight.   In ancient times, there were nighttime processions, and the temples of Isis were lit up with candles and oil lamps.

(A tyet or "Isis knot")

Legends of Isis
Nefertari's Tomb

1.   The parents of Isis are Geb (the earth god) and Nuet (the sky goddess).   She is one of four quadruplets: Isis, Osiris, Nephthys, and Set (Seth).   She and her twin (quadruplet) brother Osiris were so much in love that they made love to each other while still in their mother’s womb.

2.   Set killed his brother Osiris and cut his body into pieces.   Isis found the pieces and put them back together.   Flapping her wings above Osiris' corpse, she wailed in mourning.   She restored life to Osiris (briefly) by flapping her wings and filling his mouth and nose with air.   Just before Osiris went into the underworld (and took on the form of a falcon-headed being), he made love to Isis, and the result of their union was Horus.

3.   Ra (aka Re), the sun god, was a doddering old man; he walked around drooling.   He possessed the secret words of magick, but wouldn’t share them with anyone.   Isis took some of his spittle that fell to the ground and used it to make a serpent.   The serpent bit Ra, and as he was dying, Isis told him that she could restore his health if he would tell her the words of magick (Ra’s secret name).   Reluctantly, he told her, and she healed him.

Isis' star is Sirius; Osiris' star is Orion.

Herbert Hoover greatly helped the people of Belgium during World War I (before he was president).   He organized the "Commission for Relief in Belgium" which helped feed people in Belgium, and saved many lives.   After the war, some of the people who had benefited from Mr. Hoover's efforts got together, took up a collection and, in 1922, they presented him with a statue ... of Isis!

The Temple of Isis at Philae
A temple was built in 150 AD (by the Romans) which was dedicated to Isis.   It was located on the little island of Philae (pronounced "feel-eye") in the middle of the Nile River.   After the Aswan Dam was completed in 1912, the island was completely out of the water only five months out of the year; the other seven months, it was partially flooded.   The dam changed the level of water in the river.

From 1902 until 1971, when the Aswan High Dam was completed, people used to swim out and "visit" the partially submerged temple.

The Aswan High Dam caused the island to be completely inundated. Fortunately, the temple was saved from "drowning."   A coffer dam was built around the temple, and the water was pumped out of the enclosure.   The temple of Isis was then moved, one stone at a time, to the island of Agilkia (also in the Nile River), where it now stands.   The project took eight years.   Agilkia Island was actually modified so that it would resemble Philae Island.   The temple itself is still referred to as the Philae Temple.

Other Egyptian monuments were also moved in connection with the construction of the Aswan High Dam, so that they wouldn't be underwater.
The last known hieroglyphic inscription in Egypt dates back to 394 CE, and is found in the Philae Temple shown here.
The Isis Bar

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