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Isis

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Isis
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« on: April 23, 2007, 01:58:11 am »

Hello everyone, Isis is my favorite of the Egyptian gods, and so, I took her as my codename, both here and at the old Atlantis Rising forum where many of us used to post.  Isis is perhaps the first goddess figure, and her image is still influencing Christiainity.  Let's find out more about her:


Isis is a goddess in Egyptian mythology. She was most prominent mythologically as the wife and sister of Osiris and mother of Horus, and was worshipped as the archetypical wife and mother.

Her name literally means (female) of throne, i.e. Queen of the throne, which was portrayed by the emblem worn on her head, that of a throne. However, the hieroglyph of her name originally meant (female) of flesh, i.e. mortal, and she may simply have represented deified, historical queens.

Her origins are uncertain but are believed to have come from the Nile Delta; however, unlike other Egyptian deities, she did not have a centralised cult at any point throughout her worship. First mentions of Isis date back to the Fifth dynasty of Egypt which is when the first literary inscriptions are found, but her cult became prominent late in Egyptian history, when it began to absorb the cults of many other goddesses. It eventually spread outside Egypt throughout the Middle East and Europe, with temples dedicated to her built as far away as the British Isles. Pockets of her worship remained in Christian Europe as late as the 6th century.

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Isis
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2007, 02:03:01 am »



Origin of the name

 

Isis
in hieroglyphs

 
 
 
The English pronunciation used for this deity, /ˈaɪ.sɪs/), is an anglicized pronunciation of the Greek name, Ίσις, which itself changed the original Egyptian name by the addition of a final -s because of the grammatical requirements of Greek noun endings.

The Egyptian name was recorded as ỉs.t or ȝs.t and meant '(She of the) Throne'. However the true Egyptian pronunciation remains uncertain because their writing system omitted vowels. Based on recent studies which present us with approximations based on contemporary languages and Coptic evidence, the reconstructed pronunciation of her name is *ʔŪsat (ooh-saht). Later, the name survived into Coptic dialects as Ēse or Ēsi, as well as in compound words surviving in names of later people like Har-si-Ese, literally "Horus, son of Isis".

For convenience and arbitrarily, Egyptologists choose to pronounce the word as ee-set. Sometimes they may also say ee-sa because the final 't' in her name was a feminine suffix which is known to have been dropped in speech during the last stages of the Egyptian language.

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Isis
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2007, 02:05:22 am »



English: Priestess of the Egyptian goddess Isis, holding a situla (a bronze jug). Roman statue of the 2nd century AD, on display at the Museo Archaeologico Regionale, Palermo, Sicily.


Temples

Most Egyptian deities started off as strictly local, and throughout their history retained local centers of worship, with most major cities and towns widely known as the hometowns to their deities. However, no traces of local Isis cults are found; throughout her early history there are also no known temples dedicated to her. Individual worship of Isis does not begin until as late as the 30th dynasty; until that time Isis was depicted and apparently worshipped in temples of other deities. However, even then Isis is not worshipped individually, but rather together with Horus and Osiris- the latter of whom being both her brother and husband ( marriage between brothers and sisters of the Royal family were common in Ancient Egypt to keep the Royal bloodline 'intact' ). Temples dedicated specifically to Isis become wide-spread only in the Roman times.

By this period, temples to Isis begin to spread outside of Egypt. In many locations, particularly Byblos, her cult takes over that of worship to the Semitic goddess Astarte, apparently due to the similarity of names and associations. During the Hellenic era, due to her attributes as a protector, and mother, and the lusty aspect originally from Hathor, she was also made the patron goddess of sailors.

Throughout the Graeco-Roman world, Isis becomes one of the most significant of the mystery religions, and many classical writers refer to her temples, cults and rites. Temples to Isis were built in Iraq, Greece, Rome, even as far north as England where the remains of a temple were discovered at Hadrian's Wall. At Philae her worship persisted until the 6th century, long after the wide acceptance of Christianity- this was the last of the ancient Egyptian temples to be closed, and its fall is generally accepted to mark the end of ancient Egypt.


Priesthood
 
Priestess of Isis, Roman statue 2nd Century C.E.Little information on Egyptian priests of Isis survives; however it is clear there were both priests and priestesses of her cult throughout her history. By the Graeco-Roman era, many of them were healers, and were said to have many other special powers, including dream interpretation and the ability to control the weather by braiding or combing their hair, the latter of which was believed because the Egyptians considered knots to have magical powers.

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Isis
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2007, 02:07:43 am »



On the right is Our Mother of Perpetual Help, a famous medieval icon of Mary and Jesus; on the left is a bronze statue of Isis nursing Horus dating from the Ptolomeic era of Egypt.

Parallels in Catholicism and Orthodoxy
 
On the right is Our Mother of Perpetual Help, a famous medieval icon of Mary and Jesus; on the left is a bronze statue of Isis nursing Horus dating from the Ptolomeic era of Egypt.Some scholars believe that Isis worship in late Roman times was the an influence behind Catholic development of the cult[2] of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Evidence suggests that this allowed the Catholic Church to absorb a huge number of converts who had formerly believed in Isis, and would not have converted unless Catholicism offered them an "Isis-like" female focus for their faith. Iconographically the similarities between the seated Isis holding or suckling the child Horus (Harpocrates) and the seated Mary and the baby Jesus are apparent.

Some Christian writers find fault with these claims, and suggest that by the time devotion to the Virgin Mary arose, the worship of Isis had greatly evolved from the Egyptian myths, and her relationship with Horus was no longer a major factor. However, this view is overshadowed by the fact that Late Roman beliefs regarding the attributes of Isis are almost identical to early Church beliefs regarding Mary. One has only to read the quote from Apuleius above, to see that Isis was worshiped in Roman Times as a Universal and merciful mother figure. Though the Virgin Mary is not worshiped (only venerated) in Catholicism and Orthodoxy, her role as a merciful mother figure has parallels with the role formerly played by Isis. Critics point out that stylistic similarities between iconography of Mary and Isis are not proof of syncretism, since they could represent a "type." That is, a "good mother" would most naturally be represented by a woman holding a child in her arms. Similarly an exalted female figure would naturally tend toward identification with that of a Queen.

Certain Fundamentalist Christians[2] have popularly promoted and even exaggerated the Isis-Mary similarities as part of anti-Catholic polemic, asserting that Catholicism is therefore syncretic, tainted by paganism.

The veneration of Mary in Orthodox[3] and even Anglican tradition is often overlooked[4]. The traditional images (Icons) of Mary are still popular in Orthodoxy today[5]. See also Christianization and syncretism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis
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Isis
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2007, 02:10:36 am »




"tyet"
Knot of Isis
in hieroglyphs


Because of the association between knots and magical power, a symbol of Isis was the tiet/tyet (meaning welfare/life), also called the Knot of Isis, Buckle of Isis, or the Blood of Isis. The tiet in many respects resembles an ankh, except that its arms curve down, and in all these cases seems to represent the idea of eternal life/resurrection. The meaning of Blood of Isis is more obscured, but the tyet was often used as a funerary amulet made of red wood, stone, or glass, so this may have simply been a description of its appearance.

The star Spica (sometimes called Lute Bearer), and the constellation which roughly corresponded to the modern Virgo, appeared at a time of year associated with the harvest of wheat and grain, and thus with fertility gods and goddesses. Consequently they were associated with Hathor, and hence with Isis through her later conflation with Hathor. Isis also assimilated Sopdet, the personification of Sirius, since Sopdet, rising just before the flooding of the Nile, was seen as a bringer of fertility, and so had been identified with Hathor. Sopdet still retained an element of distinct identity, however, as Sirius was quite visibly a star and not living in the underworld (Isis being the wife of Osiris who was king of the underworld).

In the Roman period, probably due to assimilation with the goddesses Aphrodite and Venus, the rose was used in her worship. The demand for roses throughout the Empire turned rose growing into an important industry.

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Isis
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2007, 02:14:38 am »

Titles

In the Book of the Dead Isis was described as:

   She who gives birth to heaven and earth,
   She who knows the orphan,
   She who knows the widow spider,
   She who seeks justice for the poor people,
   She who seeks shelter for the weak people


Some of Isis' many other titles were:

   Queen of Heaven,
   Mother of the Gods,
   The One Who is All,
   Lady of Green Crops,
   The Brilliant One in the Sky,
   Star of the Sea,
   Great Lady of Magic,
   Mistress of the House of Life,
   She Who Knows How To Make Right Use of the Heart,
   Light-Giver of Heaven,
   Lady of the Words of Power,
   Moon Shining Over the Sea.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2007, 02:18:00 am by Isis » Report Spam   Logged
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