Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pagan Blog Project- O is for Osiris


King of the Dead

Supreme God and Judge of the dead, Resurrection and eternal life.  Provider of fertility and prosperity to the living.

Osiris is an Egyptian God and also ruled and lived on the Earth with his wife/sister/consort Aset/Isis. This couple was very popular and much loved. They were so loved that their brother Set was extremely jealous and he wanted to be king himself. So he devised a plan to get rid of his brother Osiris. Osiris decided to have a dinner party (some say to celebrate his birthday perhaps) and Set being his brother was there. He told Osiris he had a fun gift for the party. He had a sarcophagus made and who ever could fit perfectly in it, would own it. The sarcophagus was beautiful and everyone had their eye on it. Of course it was a trap set for Osiris. One by one, each guest laid in the sarcophagus to see if they were a perfect fit. Finally it was Osiris' turn and of course he was a perfect fit. However once he laid in it, Set slammed the door down entrapping Osiris within it. He then took the coffin and hid it so no one could find it, especially his wife Aset/Isis. She was heart broken and searched the ends of the earth for her beloved husband. Finally with the help of her sister Nepthys and others she was able to find the coffin. Set was furious. He stole the coffin with Osiris body back and this time had the body dismembered into several pieces and scattered across the globe. Aset/Isis was not one to give up. Finally she was able to recover all the pieces of her husband except one, his phallus. So she fashioned one from magic and then proceeded to impregnate herself with the child of Osiris- Horus. Because of this story and many others, Osiris became the god of the dead and the underworld. And because of the fact that he was able to impregnate Aset/Isis, he is also seen as a god of rebirth/resurrection. (This is just one interpretation of the myth, as there are many many more).

Osiris is the son of Geb (the earth) and Nut (the sky). His siblings include his wife/sister Aset/Isis, Nepthys, Set and Horus the elder. His son Horus was born of Aset/Isis. He also fathered (it is said) Bast and Annubis as well.

He is usually depicted in mummy wrappings, wearing what is known as the Atef crown. This is similar to the White Crown of Upper Egypt, with the addition of a feather along either side, and a small sphere at the top. He holds the crook and flail, symbols of ruler ship. In some depictions he has black skin symbolizing the underworld and rebirth and also symbolizing the black fertile soil deposited by the Nile every year.  In other depictions he has green skin-Lord of Vegetation- which represents life, death and rebirth of the cycles of grain and other plant life. His skin may also appear white as in reference to his bandages.

His cult was originated in Abydos where it is said his tomb resides even today. His associations with burial rites were also established by the 5th dynasty. He had absorbed the funerary gods of Abydos.

Osiris brought civilization to the barbarous cannibals of the first people of Egypt. He taught them how and what to eat (and not each other!), raise crops like corn and vines. He also taught them how to worship the gods and made laws for them. He ruled by persuasion not by force. And because of this he was greatly loved. With his death by Set, he became God of the Dead and Underworld.

Due to his resurrection from the dead he is also considered a fertility god. This title is also attributed to the fact that he taught the people agriculture and how to take care of them selves. Osiris was at one time an ancient corn deity, identified with a pastoral deity called Andjeti. His cult object is the djeb column which is thought to represent the 4 pillars seen one behind the other or a man’s backbone.

The Nile is probably the most important natural resource to the early peoples. Osiris is seen as the god of death due to his own death and his death is associated with the drying up of the Nile or the drought season. It is said that when he dies, the Nile dries out. When the induation of the Nile happens, it is then said that he was returned from the dead to bring rebirth to the people by flooding the Nile again.

Osiris also has the job of Judge and he presides over the ceremony of the weighing of the heart and feather. He is the one who gives final judgment to those who have died.

He is the equivalent of the Greek Dionysus and Hades.


Cult Center – Busiris, Abydos
Chief Festival - July 3
Main festivals
Feast – February 15, April 10, July 26 & 28;
Festival of the resurrection – July 3
Statue – a bearded man wrapped as a mummy holding the flail and crook
Family – Son of Geb and Nut, Brother/Husband of Isis, Brother of Set, Nepthys and Horus the Elder.  Father of Horus, Father Bast and Annubis
Cardinal Point – North
Element - Earth
Herbs – Anise, Apple, Banana, Carnation, Cypress, Dogwood, Foxglove, Garlic, Holly, Honesty, Iris, Juniper, Lemon, Lettuce, Lime, Marigold, Mugwort, Oak, Orris, Peach, Peppermint, Red Clover, Summer Savory, Sunflower, Sage, Tansy, Turmeric, Violet, Yarrow
Crystals – Amethyst, Aventurine, Azurite, Citrine, Elestials, Labradorite, Lapis Lazuli, Moldavite, Moss Agate, Onyx, Ruby, Sugilite, Sunstone, Tektite, Yellow Topaz,
Metal – Copper, Gold
Wood – Elder, Oak
Color – Black, Green
Incense – Frankincense, Sandalwood, Sage
Day(s) – Sunday
Time(s) – Midnight and Dawn
Season – Winter and Spring

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