Husband of Isis: Who is Osiris?

If you take a look at the art depicting Isis, you will see a woman who is wearing a long sheath dress and sports a crown with the hieroglyphic sign for a throne. At times, a lotus is in her hand. Other moments, a generic ankh sign (or simple staff) is in her hand.  In art, you may also see Isis with a young boy (her son) who is the great god named Horus. A crown, a vulture, a kite bird flying overhead the body of Osiris or her beloved Osiris lying dead across her lap is also used in depictions of the goddess.

When it comes to the family members of Isis , one of the most prominent is that of her husband (and brother) , Osiris.  

Osiris has been known as many different names (including Asar, Aser, Ausir, and Wesir). As the Egyptian god of life, Osiris also represented death and fertility. Isis’ husband was rather important, as he was one of the oldest gods that records have showcased his existence. He makes an appearance in the Pyramid Texts (about 2400 BCE) and at this time, his cult had already became well established. Osiris enjoyed a widely scattered worship that took place until the suppression of paganism was forced during the Christian era.

Over time, Osiris would become known as the redeemer and a judge full of mercy that dealt with the dead in the afterlife. He was also attached to all of the vegetation that grew about the Nile River, as well as the fertile flooding. When it came to the Kings of Egypt, they were all associated with Osiris in death, as it was he who emerged from the dead so that they could join him and inherit eternal life with the help of imitative magic.

Osiris was the oldest son of the Earth god named Geb and the sky goddess by the name of Nut , who gave birth to the god in Thebes. When depicted, Osiris is seen as a pharaoh with green skin, who wears an Atef crown , a white crown of Upper Egypt that displayed a plume of feathers on either side. Once Osiris was born, his grandfather, Ra deemed him the heir to his throne and when Geb retired , Osiris took on the role and mandated his sister, Isis as his queen.

As for the first things that Osiris completed during his reign, he initially abolished cannibalism and taught the art of agriculture to his people. He is known for building the first temples and creating laws that were fair to the people. Throughout his rule, he was given another name (Omnophris), which translated into “good one.”

In the second part of “Osiris: Husband of Isis,” you will learn of what happened when the god left his kingdom to spread his rule to the rest of the world. You will also learn of the plan that his jealous brother, Seth had in mind that has been translated into many different myths.