The Egyptian Myth of Creation celebrates the idea of the cyclical nature of life: birth, maturity, death, and rebirth.  Do Isis, Osiris or Horus take part in this cycle?

1 Answer

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In the Egyptian myths, Isis represents life and rebirth: when Set, her brother, kills Osiris (his brother and Isis' brother/husband), Isis (with the help of her sister Nephthys) gathers together the parts of Osiris that Set had strewn about the world, and with Isis' magic, she brings Osiris back to life. However, he decides to live in the underworld, becoming the ruler of that domain.

Osiris was the ruler of all the world. It is said that he taught humankind agriculture. When he is killed, he is revived by his wife Isis, however, he travels to the underworld, and there he remains:

To the Egyptians, Osiris represents life, death and resurrection. 

The Egyption creation myths explain how the earth was fashioned from chaos. The first god to emerge was Ra (or Re). In turn, he gave birth to gods who ruled over the elements, such as air, earth and sky. Ra also created mankind.

Ra creates several gods including Shu and Tefnut. They give birth to Geb and Nut. While Ra takes Nut to wife, Nut and Geb are drawn to each other. Ra finds out and punishes his wife so she cannot see Geb or give birth to her children—that she...

...should never give birth to Her young in any month of any year.

However, Thoth, the Self-Created helps Nut by creating days that are not a part of the 360-day year:

These days did not rest within any month, nor any year, and thus Nut was able to bear Her children, one on each day. 

In this way, Nut can give birth and not break Ra's decree against her. In the five days she is free of Ra's punishment, she gives birth to: Osiris, Isis, Set (or Seth), Elder Horus, and Nephthys. While these characters are associated with things such as life, rebirth, death, etc., they are not presented as taking part in the creation story, but are themselves part of the creation story of Egypt.

Additional Source: