December 29, 2018 2 min read

Isis is a major goddess from ancient Egyptian, whose worship eventually spread to Nubia and ancient Greece and Rome. She helped prepare the dead for their journey into the afterlife, in the same way as assisted her husband Osiris. She became the divine mother of the pharaoh, as descendants from her son Horus. As a maternal figure she was invoked in healing spells to benefit everyone, irrespective of wealth and status. In Egyptian art, Isis is depicted as a woman wearing a cow horned head piece with a disc shaped hieroglyph in between the horns. Osiris and Isis became the most widely worshipped of Egyptian deities and her magic considered greater than all other gods. She was viewed as a protector of the kingdom and even have the power to control fate.

When Isis became pregnant by the temporarily revived Osiris, she hid from Set, since her unborn child was a threat, in a thicket of papyrus in the Nile Delta, near the city of Buto. Isis eventually gave birth to Horus in this thicket and raised him and it became known as the “nest of Horus.” The image of Isis nursing Horus is a very widespread image in Egyptian art and many believe it influenced later Christian depictions of Madonna and child. The story of Horus in the papyrus may have influenced the tale of Moses in the Bulrushes, who was raised by the daughter of pharaoh (representing Isis).

Isis sought help from other deities, who protected Horus in her absence. Seven minor scorpion deities travelled with Isis and guarded her as she sought help for Horus from both deities and humans. After a wealthy woman refused to help, the scorpions stung her son. However, Isis healed the child, realising he was blameless, showing that the poor can be more virtuous than the wealthy and her maternal fair and compassionate nature.

As a child, Horus suffered from many ailments, such as scorpion stings, snake bites and stomach aches. Magical texts that use Horus's childhood as the basis for healing spells to treat his various ailments. Some of the hostile creatures that poisoned Horus were considered agents of Set. Isis used both her own magical powers to save Horus, or she sought help from other deities to cure him. Isis is a true matriarch and devoted, protected mother. The Egyptians used the recorded magical healing texts to treat ailments of both rich and poor.

Her son Horus grew into a powerful God and would go on to challenge Set for the throne of Egypt.


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