History for the Rest of Us

Horus Avenges Death of Osiris

Horus Avenges Death of Osiris

Nov 24, 2012

When Horus arrived at years of maturity, he set out to find Set and to wage war against his father’s murderer. At length they met and a fierce fight ensued, and though Set was defeated before he was finally hurled to the ground, he succeeded in tearing out the right eye of Horus and keeping it. Even after this fight Set was able to persecute Isis, and Horus was powerless to prevent it until Thoth made Set give him the right eye of Horus which he had carried off. Thoth then brought the eye to Horus, and replaced it in his face, and restored sight to it by spitting upon it. Horus then sought out the body of Osiris in order to raise it up to life, and when he found it he untied the bandages so that Osiris might move his limbs, and rise up. Under the direction of Thoth Horus recited a series of formulas as he presented offerings to Osiris, and he and his sons and Anubis performed the ceremonies which opened the mouth, and nostrils, and the eyes and the ears of Osiris. He embraced Osiris and so transferred to him his ka, i.e., his own living personality and virility, and gave him his eye which Thoth had rescued from Set and had replaced in his face. As soon as Osiris had eaten the eye of Horus he became endowed with a soul and vital power, and recovered thereby the complete use of all his mental faculties, which death had suspended. Straightway he rose up from his bier and became the Lord of the Dead and King of the Under World. Osiris became the type and symbol of resurrection among the Egyptians of all periods, because he was a god who had been originally a mortal and had risen from the dead. But before Osiris became King of the Under World he suffered further persecution from Set. Piecing together a number of disconnected hints and brief statements in the texts, it seems pretty clear either that Osiris appealed to the “Great Gods” to take notice that Set had murdered him, or that Set brought a series of charges against Osiris....

Death of Osiris

Death of Osiris

Nov 16, 2012

The Egyptians were not satisfied with the mere possession of the texts of Thoth, when their souls were being weighed in the Great Scales in the Judgment Hall of Osiris, but they also wished Thoth to act as their Advocate on this dread occasion and to prove their innocence as he had proved that of Osiris before the great gods in prehistoric times. According to a very ancient Egyptian tradition, the god Osiris, who was originally the god of the principle of the fertility of the Nile, became incarnate on earth as the son of Geb, the Earth-god, and Nut, the Sky-goddess. He had two sisters, Isis and Nephthys, and one brother, Set; he married Isis and Set married Nephthys. Geb set Osiris on the throne of Egypt, and his rule was beneficent and the nation was happy and prosperous. Set marked this and became very jealous of his brother, and wished to slay him so that he might seize his throne and take possession of Isis, whose reputation as a devoted and loving wife and able manager filled the country. By some means or other Set did contrive to kill Osiris: according to one story he killed him by the side of a canal at Netat, near Abydos, and according to another he caused him to be drowned. Isis, accompanied by her sister Nephthys, went to Netat and rescued the body of her lord, and the two sisters, with the help of Anpu, a son of Rā the Sun-god, embalmed it. They then laid the body in a tomb, and a sycamore tree grew round it and flourished over the grave. A tradition which is found in the Pyramid Texts states that before Osiris was laid in his tomb, his wife Isis, by means of her magical powers, succeeded in restoring him to life temporarily, and made him beget of her an heir, who was called Horus. After the burial of Osiris, Isis retreated to the marshes in the Delta, and there she brought forth Horus. In order to avoid the persecution of Set, who on one occasion succeeded in killing Horus by the sting of a scorpion, she fled from place to...

Thoth – Scribe of the Gods

Thoth – Scribe of the Gods

Nov 2, 2012

Thoth, in Egyptian Tchehuti or Tehuti, was the author of the texts that form the PER-T EM HRU, or Book of the Dead, and was believed by the Egyptians to have been the heart and mind of the Creator, who was in very early times in Egypt called by the natives “Pautti,” and by foreigners “Rā.” Thoth was also the “tongue” of the Creator, and he at all times voiced the will of the great god, and spoke the words which commanded every being and thing in heaven and in earth to come into existence. His words were almighty and once uttered never remained without effect. He framed the laws by which heaven, earth and all the heavenly bodies are maintained; he ordered the courses of the sun, moon, and stars; he invented drawing and design and the arts, the letters of the alphabet and the art of writing, and the science of mathematics. At a very early period he was called the “scribe (or secretary) of the Great Company of the Gods,” and as he kept the celestial register of the words and deeds of men, he was regarded by many generations of Egyptians as the “Recording Angel.” He was the inventor of physical and moral Law and became the personification of JUSTICE; and as the Companies of the Gods of Heaven, and Earth, and the Other World appointed him to “weigh the words and deeds” of men, and his verdicts were unalterable, he became more powerful in the Other World than Osiris himself. Osiris owed his triumph over Set in the Great Judgment Hall of the Gods entirely to the skill of Thoth of the “wise mouth” as an Advocate, and to his influence with the gods in heaven. And every follower of Osiris relied upon the advocacy of Thoth to secure his acquittal on the Day of Judgment, and to procure for him an everlasting habitation in the Kingdom of Osiris. SOURCE: The Book of the Dead by E. A. Wallis...