Osiris was the body of Re, the personification of the laws of growth, death, decay and transformation—the cycle of corporeal life. From the earliest times, images of Osiris were made of dirt, planted with seeds, watered and placed in tombs. Of all the gods, Osiris was perhaps the closest to people’s hearts. He was the first king of Egypt, the father of civilization and the seed of Divinity latent inside every human being. When a person died, he or she became an Osiris. Osiris was the lord of the golden hall into which the dead were admitted by proving their hearts were open to Maat—the Daughter of Re who embodied the Divine force that flows through all incarnate life. Osiris took the form of a mummified man with a green or a black face holding the crook and flail against his chest.




Isis was the wife and sister of Osiris. Aset, her ancient Egyptian name, means “throne”, the physical seat of the Divine life-force. Isis was every woman in her role as devoted wife and mother. Shown with her baby son Horus seated on her lap, Isis was the pagan seed of the Christian Virgin and child. Always depicted as a woman with the Aset hieroglyph on her head, Isis often appeared spreading her protective life-giving wings over the deceased in the tomb.




Seth, brother of Osiris, embodied nature’s destructive forces and uncontrolled desires, especially sexual. Seth was believed to reside in the desert and was the enemy of Horus. Nevertheless, his physical strength and virility were admired and considered essential to a healthy life.




Nepthys, Nebt-het, the wife of Seth, means “Lady of the House.”Nepthys the darker, passive side of her luminous and dynamic sister, Isis. Like her husband, Nepthys could be described as a personification of inertia and entropy—physical laws divorced from their Divine source running their own course. Nepthys stood for female sexuality free of marriage and childbirth, for the pleasures of the flesh indulged in without moral restraints. Nepthys personified the material world, which is neither good nor bad and can often be pleasurable. In this aspect she was a benevolent protective goddess. Where Isis was absolute joy and hope, Nepthys understood the fear and doubt that are an indelible part of the human condition. One night, when Osiris mistook Nepthys for Isis, Anubis was conceived.


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