October 9th, 2007 by sabrina
She’s taking me a little longer than I expected, but she’s worth it. They don’t call her the Goddess of Ten Thousand Names for nothing!
Mighty one, foremost of the goddesses
Ruler in Heaven, Queen on earth …
All the gods are under her command.
—from an inscription at Philae
Isis (pronounced EYE-sis) is the Egyptian Great Goddess, ruler of life and death, magic, and motherhood. The name Isis is the anglicized pronunciation of her Greek name; her Egyptian name was most likely Eset (pronounced ee-set) or Au Set (pronounced oo-set). Her name means “Queen of the throne”, and she was seen as the mother of the royal line of Egypt. As her importance grew, aspects of many other Goddesses were incorporated into the person of Isis; at the height of her worship, she ruled over agriculture, anchors, the breath of life, breezes from the North, civilization, conjugal love, the crashing of waves, the cresting and flooding of rivers, cycles, daytime, decay, decline, dreams, the ebb and flow of tides, Egypt (especially the Nile Delta and the city of Alexandria), fate, growth, the heavens, household arts, human affairs, initiation, laws, life, lightning, magic, material reality, maternal love, medical schools, moisture, mooring poles, motherhood, the Mysteries, nature, navigation, necessity, the opening of flowers, orchards, outer space, peace, regeneration, rivers, the sea, sea breezes, seaports, secrets, serpents, sleep, solid form, spells, spirituality, the sprouting of seeds, the stars (especially the northern constellations), storms, thunder, travel by sea, the unfurling of leaves, the waning and waxing of the Moon, war, wind, Words of Power, writing implements, the year, and the entire Universe.
The legend of Isis and Osiris shows how Isis came to rule over death and rebirth, as well as magic and motherhood. Isis and Osiris, along with Nephthys and Set, were the children of Geb, God of the earth, and Nut, Goddess of the sky. Osiris ruled over Egypt with Isis as his wife and queen, and Set ruled the underworld with Nephthys as his queen. Set was jealous of Osiris, and conceived a plan to murder him through trickery. After measuring his brother while he was sleeping, Set had a coffin made to fit Osiris. At a banquet, Set offered the beautifully decorated coffin to any who could fit inside it perfectly. Several tried, but they did not fit. Finally, Osiris was persuaded to try; when he climbed into the box, the lid slammed shut on him. Set had it sealed with lead and flung into the Nile and it was carried out to sea. The coffin washed up in a distant country, coming to rest in the branches of a tree. The branches grew to cover the coffin, and Osiris was sealed up inside the trunk of the tree.
Isis, in her grief, tore her robes to pieces and cut off her long black hair. When she regained her composure, she and her sister Nephthys went in search of Osiris’s body, so that he could be buried properly. After years of searching, they found the coffin in the tree, and carried it back to Egypt, where they hid it in a swamp near the Nile. Set happened to come across the box containing his dead enemy, and was infuriated that he had been found. He hacked Osiris’s body into 14 pieces and threw them into the Nile, to be eaten by crocodiles.
Again, Isis and Nephthys searched for the pieces of Osiris’s body. They found thirteen pieces; the fourteenth, his penis, had been eaten by a crab. Isis, after tricking the God Ra into teaching her his magic, made a penis out of gold and wax for her husband, and brought him back to life long enough to conceive a child. Their son was the God Horus, who eventually revenged his father’s murder and took back the rule of Egypt from Set.
Worship of Isis spread from Egypt east through Mesopotamia and Persia, north to Greece and Rome, and even as far as the British Isles, continuing as a mystery cult into the 6th century C.E. Most of the legends we know of her come to us through Greek and Roman historians. As Isis became known in more countries, she acquired more epithets. Indeed, she was even known as Isis of the Ten Thousand Names, as this list of her alternative names shows:
Aat, All-Bounteous, All-Goddess, All-Hearing, All-Receiving, All-Seeing, Arbiter in Matters of Sexual Love, Aset, Ast, Auset, Aut (title in Dendera), Auzit, Base of the Most Beautiful Triangle, The Beautiful Goddess, Beautiful of Thrones, The Bellicose, Beloved of Osiris, Benefactress of the Tuat (the Underworld), Bestower of Good Things, Black-robed Isis, Breaker in Pieces, Bride of God, Bride of the Master of the Abyss, Bride of the Master of the Flood, Brilliant One in the Sky, Bringer of Change, Capable in Calculation, Capable in Writing, Child of Nut, Conquerer of Hearts, The Consecrated, Cornucopia of All Our Goods, Creation, Creatrix of Life, Creatrix of the Green Crop, Creatrix of the Nile Flood, Crown of Ra-Heru, Daughter of Geb, Dea ex Machina, Destroyer of the Souls of Men, Diadem of Life, Dispeller of Attack, The Divine Midwife, The Divine Mother, The Divine One, Dweller in Netru, Dynamis, Dynastis, Embracer of the Land, Esa, Eset, Esi, Eternal Woman, Ever Victorious, Eye of Ra, The Female Horus, The Female Principle of Nature, The Female Ra, Fire-Lover, First of the Muses in Heropolis, First Offspring of Time, Foremost of Heavenly Beings, Freedom, Friendship, The Fructifier, The Fruitful, The Gentle, Giver of Life, Giver of the Light in the Sky, Glorious Goddess, Goddess Fifteen for the Full Moon, Goddess of All Goddesses, Goddess of Crosses, Goddess of Dew, Goddess of Green Things, Goddess of Love and Magic, Goddess of Many Names, Goddess of Moisture, Goddess of Romance, Goddess of Ten Thousand Names, Goddess of the Rosy Dawn, Goddess of the Shining Sun at Midnight, God-Mother, God-Mother of Heru-ka-nekht, God’s bride, Great Enchantress, Great Goddess, Great Goddess of All Things, Great Goddess of the Underworld, Great Lady, Great Lady of Magic, Great Magician, Great Physician, Great Sorceress Who Heals, Great Virgin, Great White Sow of Heliopolis, Greatest of the Gods, Greatest of the Gods and Goddesses, The Green Goddess, The Green One, The Guardian, Guide of the Muses, The Guide, Hearer of Prayers, The Hidden, Highest of Deities, Highest of the Gods, Holy Blessed Lady, Holy Mother, Holy One, The Immortal, Ineffable Lady, Intervening Power, Inventor of All Things, The Inventrix, Isis, Isis Africa, Isis Aphrodite, Isis Agabe, Isis Alexandria, Isis Ambula, Isis Atena, Isis Dikaiosyne (an aspect associated with justice), Isis Epekoos (she who hears everything), Isis Euploia (Giver of Good Sailing), Isis Fortuna (Goddess of Fate and Fortune), Isis Galactotrouphousa (who gives the miracle of the milk of life), Isis in Per Pakht , Isis in P-she-Hert , Isis in the Bedchamber, Isis Lactans (breastfeeding), Isis Linopeplos (wearing linen garments), Isis Lochis, Isis Lydia educatrix (educator of Lydia), Isis Maia, Isis Medica, Isis Medicina Mundi (the power that heals the world), Isis Menouthis (Wound Mender), Isis Myrionymos (of the myriad of names), Isis Nanaia, Isis Navigum, Isis Nepherses (the beautiful), Isis Nike, Isis Noreia, Isis of Ta-at-nehepet , Isis of Ten Thousand Names, Isis of the Earth, Isis of the Sea, Isis Panthea (the goddess of all goddesses), Isis Pantocrateira , Isis Pelagia, Isis Petrophoros, Isis Pharia (goddess of the lighthouse), Isis Phronesis (wisdom), Isis Pilaria (of the lighthouse in Alexandria), Isis Placidae Reginae (queen of peace), Isis Ploutodotai (giver of riches), Isis Pluonumos (Isis of the Many Names), Isis Polyonymos (The Many-Named), Isis Pterophoros (winged Isis), Isis Saeculi Felicitas (happiness of our age), Isis Selene, Isis Sophia (divine wisdom), Isis Tyche, Isis Urt-hekau (rich in spells), Isis Usert (giver of life), Isis Venerandum (all that must be worshipped), Isis Victrix, Jewel of the Wind, Joy, Judge in matters of love, Khut (giver of light), Kourotrophos , Lady Everlasting in All Things, Lady in Red, Lady Isis, Lady of Abaton , Lady of Abundance, Lady of All Elements, Lady of Beauty, Lady of Beer, Lady of Bees, Lady of Besitet , Lady of Bread, Lady of Cheerfulness, Lady of Eternity, Lady of Every Country, Lady of Fire, Lady of Flame, Lady of Gladness, Lady of Green Crops, Lady of Green Herbs, Lady of Growth and of Decline, Lady of Hair, Lady of Herbs, Lady of Iat-Rek (Philae) , Lady of Incantations, Lady of Increase and Decay, Lady of Infinite Light, Lady of Joy, Lady of Life, Lady of Light, Lady of Love, Lady of Moisture, Lady of Peace, Lady of Re-a-nefer , Lady of Solid Earth, Lady of Spells, Lady of the Big House, Lady of the Chariot of Fire, Lady of the Countries of the South , Lady of the Earth, Lady of the Great House, Lady of the Green Harvest, Lady of the Green Plants, Lady of the Heat and Fire, Lady of the House of Bees, Lady of the House of Fire, Lady of the Land, Lady of the Land Matter, Lady of the Mainland, Lady of the Mouths of Seas and Rivers, Lady of the New Year, Lady of the North Wind, Lady of the Pyramid, Lady of the Red Apparel, Lady of the Sea, Lady of the Shuttle, Lady of the Two Lands, Lady of the Word of the Beginning, Lady of the Words of Power, Lady of the World, Lady of Thunder, Lady of War and Rule, Lady of Warmth, Lady of Weaving, Lady of Wine, Lady on a Fire-Shaped Cart, Lady Rich of Names, Leader of the Muses, Light-Giver of Heaven, Linen-garbed, Living One, Lofty Pharos of Light, Lotus-Bearing, Maker of Kings, Maker of Monarchs, Maker of the Sunrise, Many-Formed, Many-Named, Master of Rainstorms, Master’s Bride, Mediatrix between the Celestial and the Terrestrial, The Merciful, Meri, Lady of the Sea, Mighty Lady, Mighty One of Enchantments, Mistress of All the Elements, Mistress of All Things Forever, Mistress of Bread, Mistress of Eternity, Mistress of Magic, Mistress of Righteousness, Mistress of the Dawn, Mistress of the Earth, Mistress of the Evening Star, Mistress of the House of Life, Mistress of the Sky, Mistress of the Tomb, Mistress of the Word in the Beginning, Mistress of the World, Moon Shining Over the Sea. , Most Exalted of the Deities, Most Great, Most Mighty One, Mother Goddess, Mother in the Horizon of Heaven, Mother of God, Mother of Horus, Mother of the Apis Bull, Mother of the Ears of Corn, Mother of the Gods, Mother of the Horus of Gold, Mother of the Universe, Mother of Wheat, Motivating Power, Name of the Sun, Nut’s daughter , Of Beautiful Form, Oldest of the Old, One Above Fate, The One of Countless Names, The One of the Beginning and of the Ending, One Who Creates, One Who Is All, The Only One, Opener of the Year, Parent of Things, The Power Shooting Forth from the Nile, The Power that Heals the World, The Powerful, Queen Isis, Queen of Egypt, Queen of Heaven, Queen of Mesen, Queen of Peace, Queen of Resurrection and Life, Queen of Rivers, Queen of Seamanship, Queen of the Dead, Queen of the Earth, Queen of the Gods, Queen of the Nile, Queen of the Sea, Queen of the Sky, Queen of the Solid Earth, Queen of the South and of the North, Queen of the Sun, Queen of the Thunderbolt, Queen of the Underworld, Queen of the Universe, Queen of War, Queen of Winds, Ra’s Bride, Ra’s Crown, Ra’s Daughter, Ray of the Sun, Ruler of the World, Salvatrix of Sailors, Savior of Mankind, She of a Thousand Names, She of Many Praises, She of the Great Wings and the Scythe of the Moon, She of the Greatest Heart, She of the Moon, She Who Embraces the Earth, She Who Gives Birth to Heaven and Earth, She Who Gives Birth to Kings, She Who Has Given Birth to the Fruits of the Earth, She Who Knows How To Make Right Use of the Heart, She Who Knows the Orphan, She Who knows the Widow Spider, She Who Moves, She Who Scatters Attacks, She Who Seeks Justice for the Poor People, She Who Seeks Shelter for the Weak People, She Who Shines in Sothis, She Whose Praises are Innumerable, The Shining One, Sovereign of the Elements, Sovereign of the World, Star of the Sea, The Stone Seat, The Terrible One, The Throne, The Understanding, The Varied, The Wetnurse, Wife of the Lord of the Inundation, Witch in the Stone Boat, World Mother.
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