Isis  

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"I am all that has been, and is, and shall be"

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Isis was a fertility goddess in Ancient Egyptian religion, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshiped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans, the downtrodden, as well as listening to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats and rulers. Isis is the Goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility.

The goddess Isis (the mother of Horus) was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, the goddess of the Overarching Sky, and was born on the fourth intercalary day. At some time Isis and Hathor had the same headdress. In later myths about Isis, she had a brother, Osiris, who became her husband, and she then was said to have conceived Horus. Isis was instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris when he was murdered by Set. Her magical skills restored his body to life after she gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Set. This myth became very important in later Egyptian religious beliefs.

Isis is also known as the goddess of simplicity, protector of the dead and goddess of children from whom all beginnings arose. In later myths, the Ancient Egyptians believed that the Nile River flooded every year because of her tears of sorrow for her dead husband, Osiris. This occurrence of his death and rebirth was relived each year through rituals. The worship of Isis eventually spread throughout the Greco-Roman world, continuing until the suppression of paganism in the Christian era.

Parallels in Catholicism and Orthodoxy

Scholars have found comparisons with Isis worship in late Roman times and the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After the Christian religion gained popularity and started dispersing into Europe and then throughout Rome, the Christians converted an Isis shrine in Egypt into one for Mary and in other ways;

Historian Will Durant has found that "Early Christians sometimes worshipped before the statues of Isis suckling the infant Horus, seeing in them another form of the ancient and noble myth by which woman (i.e., the female principle), creating all things, becomes at last the Mother of God." (Will Durant,"Our Oriental Heritage" (1935), from The Story of Civilization: volume 1, Norwalk Connecticut: Easton Press 1992, page 201.)

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Isis" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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