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Egyptian Goddesses: Isis and Nekhebet

With ties to love, sexuality, health, healing, immortality, the liver, and ceremonies, Isis (sometimes called Eset) is certainly a significant goddess of the Egyptian culture. In the Egyptian deity bloodlines, Isis was born to Nut, became the wife of Osiris, and was mother to Horus. When Set killed Osiris, his body was placed in the Nile and set adrift. Isis went about the task of searching for her husband. In this article, you will also learn about the goddess Nekhebet.

Isis

When Isis finally found the body of her husband, Set stole the body back after he learned that she was reunited with her love. He then chopped the body into small pieces and tossed them in the water once more. However, Isis was able to retrieve the pieces and reassembled his body again. A festival called The Lychnapsia (the Festival of Lights) is celebrated in honor of Isis’ quest for Osiris. On August 12th, Egyptians gather to commemorate the journey that Isis took to find her husband through the darkness by torchlight.

Isis is attributed with instituting marriage and teaching women the domestic art of grinding corn, spinning flax, and weaving. Playing the role of the mother-goddess, she also taught women how to participate in agricultural affairs. In early Egyptian worship, she was seen as the ‘Great Enchantress’ and was associated with magic powers. She was known to use her knowledge as a way to practice medicine. It was she and Thoth that taught these gifts to humanity.

To gather a picture of Isis, keep in mind that depictions of her in art show her wearing red, as the Egyptians called her “thou lady of the red apparel”. Many works of art also show Isis with wings. In many cases, she is pictured with a throne situated on top of her head. In some cases, a headdress with cow horns surrounded by a sun disk is also seen in depictions of the goddess.

Nekhebet

The vulture was the creature used to represent the ancient Egyptian goddess Nekhebet, as she was connected to wild birds, death and rebirth, and was known as the Creator of Life. In artistic depictions, Nekhebet is often seen as a vulture or a woman with the head of a vulture. However, she is sometimes known to wear the white crown of Upper Egypt (southern Egypt).

Nekhebet was a goddess that spent a great deal of time in the palace. She took on the responsible of suckled the royal children, including the pharaoh. When the pharaoh had reached the age of an adult, she would remain by his side when he took to battle. She is often depicted as hovering over his head in the form of a vulture.

In Egyptian myths, Nekhebet is often paired with her sister Uadjet, who is known as the cobra goddess. Together, the Egyptians called them the Nebti. When together, the sisters symbolize the never-ending cycle of birth and death , representing both the beginning and ending of life.