Egypt: The Gods of Ancient Egypt - Isis (Ast, Aset)


Other Names: None.

Patron of: women, mothers, children, magic, medicine, and the Ritual of Life.

Appearance: A beautiful woman in magnificent clothing, sometimes shown wearing the sun disk. She has almost no variant forms.

Description: Isis may be the oldest deity in Egypt, and certainly the oldest to survive the ages in much the same form. She may also be the most important, for although the other gods were worshipped widely, Isis was worshipped almost universally by all Egyptians. The major goddess of the Egyptian pantheon, she had many of the same attributes of other mother-goddesses found all over the world. She was revered as the great protector, prayed to for guidance, and beseeched for peace in the world. Temples to Isis are found everywhere in Egypt, some of them quite ancient, and many houses had shrines to her devotion. Her worship was taken up by the Greeks and the Romans, and indeed, Isis followers are still found today.

She was the daughter of Nut and Geb, the sister to Osiris, Set, and Nephthys, and the mother of Horus. In earlier times she was not only the wife to Osiris, but his female counterpart, equal in all ways and powers. In the Legend of Osiris it is she who travels the world to find all the pieces of his body and it is she who brings him back to life with the aid of Thoth. But that is not the only time she is associated with Thoth. Together they taught man the secrets of magic, medicine, and agriculture. Her power is spoken of much in the ancient stories, and she may have been even more powerful than Ra and Osiris. She did after all trick Ra's secret name out of him to gain his power. Yet she is never shown as selfish or cruel, except to those who would harm those she loves. Power and compassion, crafty but merciful, Isis represents all the qualities of women.

Worship: Worshipped widely not only throughout Egypt but also much of the known world.

See also:

Exploring Isis by Catherine C. Harris

Isis, Sister of Nephthys, Mistress of Magic by Caroline Seawright

Who Put the Hiss in Isisss by deTraci Regula