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The Isisian Triad

Gods

Who: Goddess Isis, God Osiris and God Horus

What: The Cult of Isis, in an earlier form, the “Cult of Osiris”, they were the trio of deities primarily supported in Egypt throughout the Pharaonic time

Where: Chief home and place of worship was at Abydos and then the Isis Temple, Philae Island

When: Old Kingdom period right through to beginning of Christianity

The Goddess Isis

“Lady of Heaven”, The Mythological Mother and Wife of Pharaohs, “Mistress of life, ruler of fate and destiny”

 

Deity of: Protectress of the Kingdom from its enemies, governess of the Skies and the Natural World, Patroness of Women

Cult Centres: Isis Temple, Philae Island, Dendera Temple and Iseion Temple, Behbeit el-Hagar

Symbol: Tyet – a looped shape similar to the Ankh added her protection to the wearer

Parents: God Geb and Goddess Nut

Siblings: God Osiris, God Set, Goddess Nephthys, God Horus the Elder

Consort: God Osiris, God Min, God Serapis, God Horus the Elder

Offspring: God Horus and Four Sons of Horus

Depicted as: Human woman wearing a Sheath dress, holding a staff of papyrus in one hand, and an ankh sign in the other, with a throne-like hieroglyph on her head. During the New Kingdom she was drawn wearing Goddess Hathor’s headdress: a sun disk between the horns of a cow

Rose to prominence: Old Kingdom until Roman Egypt

 

 

 

In the Texts

Pyramid Texts: Goddess Isis and Goddess Nephthys assist the deceased Pharaoh reach the Afterlife

Coffin Texts: Goddess Isis appears still more frequently

Book of the Dead: Goddess Isis protects deceased souls as they face the dangers in the Duat and assists God Osiris in judging souls’ moral righteousness 

Funerary Texts: Goddess Isis is shown mourning God Osiris and was said to have written one of the Books of Breathing for him

The God Osiris

“He Who is Permanently Benign and Youthful”, “Lord of Silence”, “Lord of the Sky” and “Life of the God Ra”

Deity of: Fertility, Agriculture, the Afterlife, the Dead, Resurrection, Life and Vegetation. He judged the dead and oversaw the underworld that granted all life

Cult centres: Busiris, Philae, Dendera and Abydos

Parents: God Geb and Goddess Nut 

Siblings: Goddess’ Isis & Nephthys, Gods’ Set & Horus the Elder

Consort: Goddess Isis

Offspring: God Horus the Younger

Symbols: Crook and flail, Atef crown, ostrich feathers, fish, mummy gauze, Djed

Depicted with green skin which shows rebirth or with black skin which shows the fertility of the Nile floodplain

Rose to prominence: Mid 5th Dynasty

 

5-day festival of Osiris

The Stela of Ikhernofret records the 5 days of the Festival of Osiris:

The First Day              Procession of God Wepwawet, the “opener of the way”
The re-enactment of the battle between Osiris and his enemies in which the enemies are soundly defeated

The Second Day          The Great Procession of God Osiris
His body is taken from his Temple to his Tomb via his Funerary Boat called the “Neshmet” barque which needed to be defended against his enemies

The Third Day             God Osiris is mourned: enemies of the Land are destroyed

The Fourth Day           Night Vigil
Prayers and recitations are made, and funeral rites performed

The Fifth Day             God Osiris is Reborn
He is reborn at dawn and crowned with the crown of Ma’at. A statue of Osiris is brought to the temple

The God Horus/Ra-Horakhty

The distant one, the one who is above

 

Deity of: Kingship and The Sky, the Sun being his right eye and the Moon his left

Parents: Goddess Isis and God Osiris

Siblings: God Anubis and Goddess Bastet

Consort: Goddess Hathor

Offspring: Ihy

Depicted as: Full Falcon through to a falcon-headed man wearing the Double Crown of all Egypt

Symbols: Eye of Horus – symbol of protection and royal power from deities: known as “Wadjet” and created to protect the Pharaoh in life and in the afterlife, all the while, warding off evil

Rose to prominence: Rose to prominence: late prehistoric Egypt until Roman Egypt

Cult centres: Nekhen, Edfu