“Praise be to thee, O Osiris, lord of eternity, whose forms are manifold, and attributes are majestic, the lord of the hidden place, and the creator of Het-Ka-Ptah and of the gods therein, the guide of the underworld whom the gods glorify when thou settest in Nut. Isis embraceth thee is peace,and she driveth away the fiends from the mouth of thy paths. Those who have lain down rise up to see thee, they breathe the air and they look upon thy face when the Disk riseth on its horizon, their hearts are at peace inasmuch as they behold thee, O thou who art Eternity and Everlastingness!”
Osiris the Egyptian God of the underworld and one of the sacred trinity with his wife Isis and son Horus, he is one of the most recognised of the Egyptian pantheon.
Osiris was said to possess two natures, one divine and one human and because of this he had two souls. He was the first king of Egypt and he and his people lived in harmony. His wife was the beautiful Isis, goddess of fertility and regarded as the archetypal mother.
Osiris had a brother Set, who was an animal headed god but the animal head is not one recognised today and one wonders if it is an animal that is now extinct or because of the bad connotations to this god with the dark side, he is depicted with an unrecognisable animal head.
Set was jealous of his brother. He craved his power and his lifestyle and so Set decided to be rid of his brother and take over the ruling of the land. With seventy-two conspirators, Set arranged a special party and invited Osiris.
Set had a box built, a sarcophagus, and he used it to play a game at the party. Set asked every guest to attempt to get inside the box, whoever fitted into it exactly would be the winner.
Sneaky Set had had the box built to the shape and size of his brother Osiris. Each guest tried to get in but none fitted. Osiris was the last and as soon as he lay down in the sarcophagus, Set threw the lid upon it and dropped it into the deepest part of the sea.
Isis went in search of her husband and through magical means she found him alive in the sarcophagus at the bottom of the ocean. She brought him back to Egypt but the two brothers got into a fight and Set defeated his brother and this time tore his body into sixteen pieces, scattering them across the known world. Set did this to stop Osiris rising again.
Isis wept at the death of her husband in such a cruel manner. She searched the land and sea and collected all the pieces of Osiris bar one; his phallus.
Isis turned to lord Thoth, the ibis headed Egyptian God of magic and from him she learnt the spells to put the body of Osiris back together. She recited the charms that brought his soul and consciousness back to his body.
Isis performed the ceremony and rituals for resurrection just as lord Thoth had taught her. To have done this she would have needed to know the secret magical name of her husband. The magical name is the true name that each soul is given when created and usually the name expresses the true nature of that soul and person. It is kept secret because if somebody should learn this name they could use it against you.
Osiris rose, he was alive again. Isis and Osiris were reunited one more time and from this union Isis conceived a son, Horus, who would go on to avenge his father when he was older.
Now how did they conceive a son if Osiris was missing his phallus?
There are two versions as to how this story continues. In one Isis makes a golden phallus and attaches it to her husband. The other version is that she spread her wings of love and was able to conceive in that way.
Osiris had now gained immortality but he could no longer live in this world, and so he took himself to the underworld, where the dead lived. Here he became the god of the dead, judging the souls who had passed over from the living life to this realm.
His role as judge meant that when the deceased came before him he would ‘weigh their words’, which was him interviewing the deceased on the actions and deeds they had performed in their living life.
The priests of the ancient Egyptian times copied what they could of the spells that Isis used to bring Osiris back to life. The priests would then perform their prayers and rituals over the body so that the deceased could also be resurrected again into the afterlife and live there.
When one dies the Egyptians believed that the soul flew to the setting sun in the west, so when one passes over one is said to have gone West. So, in the ancient Egyptian mythology, there is no actual death if these rites of passage are performed, and if one had lived a worthy life then one lives on eternally in the next world, to life everlasting in Osiris’s domain.
I chatted to magical Egyptologist Mogg Morgan about this subject and that can be watched here: