Sevens and Isis of Egypt.


Isis shown with her wings outspread to waft fresh air into the underworld.

Isis was the first daughter of Nut, the sky,  and Geb, the earth.  Her symbol is the throne, so that the pharaoh was seen as her child sitting on her lap. She married her brother, Osiris, who was then the lord of the gods. Another brother, Set, lord of storms, murdered Osiris out of jealousy and took his throne. Set cut Osiris’s body into 14 parts, scattering 7 pieces in the Upper Kingdom and the other 7 in the lower kingdom. Isis was so much a feature of Egyptian religion that the flooding of the Nile was said to be her tears over the death of Osiris.

Isis and the Seven Scorpions

Cari Meister (Author) , Tom McNeely (Illustrator) (aff link)

Isis fled to the marshes and jungle of the Delta of the Nile, accompanied by seven scorpions for protection. On the way, she looked for shelter in a village, disguised as a beggar woman, and everyone, even a rich woman who could well afford hospitality, closed their doors to her because of the scorpions.  The scorpions decided to punish the rich woman by stinging her baby.

Finally a poor woman offered her shelter, and Isis was very grateful. Meanwhile,  the rich woman was distraught, and tried to get help for her son, who died from the venom. But Isis heard her cries, and through her magic, brought the child back to life.

The rich woman gave some of her fortune to the poor woman as a gift to Isis for bringing her child back.  Isis went on to the marshes, and eventually gathered all the pieces of Osiris back together, brought him back to life, and had a baby by him, Horus, the hawk-headed sky god. Osiris became the lord of the underworld.

Isis nursing Horus

Isis nursing Horus

Isis is a protector of children, orphans, widows and the poor,  as well as a patron of magic, and a protector of the jars that held the organs of mummified people. Her worship spread through out much of the Mediterranean even to Roman times. The popular sculptures of Isis nursing Horus, and by implication, the pharaoh, are thought to have influenced statues of Mary and Baby Jesus.

Another seven associated with Isis is the symbol for gold, which has seven marks under the arched shape. gold2 An image of the golden throne shows Isis kneeling on this golden symbol.


Tomorrow, Sekhmet and beer.

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6 Responses to Sevens and Isis of Egypt.

  1. Interesting. I love a good story especially those where the selfish are punished and the generous blessed.

    • It’s a universal concept of hospitality, kindness and sharing, rather than selfish hoarding. What I find interesting is Isis’s healing of the dead child, the forgiveness of the rich woman’s selfishness, and her resulting generosity to the poor woman.

  2. This is totally new to me so thank you I love to broaden my horizons – In a far distant life I worked on an academic research project called Osiris – My only memory at this stage are lots of meetings in 12 different EU states – lots of good food, good wine and good company

    • I remember a computer program we used to use when my high school first went to computer records for grades, called Osiris. Thoth or Seshat would have been a better name, since those were gods of writing and recordkeeping. But wine, company and good food is nothing to to sneeze at.

  3. Bonnie Gean says:

    I’ve always wondered how much talk about the “Gods” are true or not, but it seems pretty nasty for a chick to gather the 14 pieces of a body together, bring him back to life, and then bear his child. Something about that picture truly bothers me. LOL

    • Add the fact that he was her brother, and it is just more squick, But that’s the Egyptians for you. Osiris is actually drawn as a green or blue-faced mummy wrapped in his shroud as lord of the underworld… world’s first zombie, I guess. 🙂