Make your own free website on

The Gods Of Egypt
Worship of Osiris


Amen (Amon) and Amen-Ra, King of the Gods | Forms of Amen-Ra | Osiris, Asar | Worship of Osiris | Isis | Anpu, or Anubis | Horus | Nephthys | Asar-Hapi, or Serapis | Nut | The Gods of Heliopolis | Egyptian Mythology | Hieroglyphics | Galery

Angels of Thoth

It is clear that the followers of Osiris believed in a material heaven,and we have now to consider where that heaven was situated. In a passage in the text of Unas {line 191 ff.} the Angels of Thoth, and the ancient ones, and the Great Terrifier, who cometh forth from the Nile, Hap and Ap-uat, who cometh forth from the Ap-uat, are called upon to witness that the mouth of the king is pure, because he eats and drinks nothing except that upon which the gods live. The text says, "Ye have taken Unas with you, and he drinketh that which ye drink, he liveth as ye live, he dwelleth as ye dwelll, he is powerful as ye are powerful, and he saileth about as ye sail about" ; thus the heaven where Unas lived after the death was in a boat. The text continues, "Unas hath netted {fowl and fish} with the net in Aaru, Unas hath possesion over the waters in Sekhet-Aanru, of the later Recensions of the Book of the Dead. From the number of other passages we find that Aaru or Sekhet-Aaru was divided into a number of districts, the chief of which was called Sekhet-Hetep, i.e., "Field of Peace and was presided over by the god Sekhet- Hetep,. To the south of this region lay Sekhet-Sanehemu, i.e., "Field of Grasshoppers," and in it were the Lakes of the Taut, and the Lakes of the Jackals,. In the waters of Aaru, or Sekhet-Aaru, Ra purified himself of beings . His heavenly life here also dwelt in the three classes of beings, called Akhemu-seku, Akhemu-Betesh, and Akhemu-Sesh-emau, that is to say, three classes of celestial bodies or beings who were never to diminish, or melt away, or decay.

All the evidence as to the position of the region Aaru shows that orginally it was thought to be in the sky, but, on the other hand, there is indications that it was entered from certain places in the Delta, and among such was the region which contained the double city, Pe-Tep and Tettu, or Tatau. Thus in a passage in the text of Pepi I. {line 255} it is said, "Pepi hath gone forth from Pe, and from being with the Souls of Pe, and as he is arrayed in the apparel of Horus, and in the garment of Thoth, and as he is arrayed in the apparel of Horus, and in the garment of Thoth, and as Isis is before him and Nephthys is behind him, Apuat openeth a way for him , and Shu beareth him up, and the Souls of Annu make him to mount the steps that they may present him to Nut who stretcheth out her hands to him, even as they did for Osiris when he arrived in the other world. O Hra-f-ha-f, Pepi hath journed on the Sekhet-Aar, he come forth from Uart, and since he is the body which hath come forth from God, and the uraeus which hath come forth from Ra, he hath sailed on the Sekhet -Aar, having the four Spirits of Horus, Hap, Amset, Tuamutef, and Qebhsennuf, with him, two of each side." The view of the position of Skhet-Aaru is supported by several passages in the Theban Recesion of the Book of the Dead, and the pictures of the district, with its lakes and canals which form the vignettes to the cxth Chapter, indicate that it was situated to the north of Egypt. The name Sekhet-Aaru appears to mean "field of Plants," and the idea conveyed by it was that of some very fertile region where farming operations could be carried on with ease and success, and where it would be possible to possess a large, well kept, and well stocked homestead, situated at no great distance from the Nile, or from one of its main branches. In the text the deceased prays, "Let "me have the power to order my own fields in Tettu and my own 'growing crops in Annu. Let me live upon bread made of white grain, and let my beer be made from red grain, and may the persons of my father and mother be given unto me as guardians of my door, and for the ordering of my homestead. Let me be sound and strong, and let me have much room wherein to move, 'and let me be able to sit wheresoever I please" {Chapter lii.}.

In the neighborhood of Tettu the orginal Sekhet-Aaru was thought to be located, and in Tettu the reconstruction of the dismembered body of Osiris took place, and it was here that the solemm ceremony of setting up his backbone was performed each year . The city of Tettu, or Tatau, here referred to was the capitol of the ninth nome of Lower egypt called Per-Asar-neb-Tettu, by the Egyptians, and Busiris by the Greeks. A portion of it called Neb-sekert, was preserved, according to one tradition, the backbone, of Osiris ; according to another his jaws were there preserved.

Worship of Osiris

Up to the present no evidence has been deduced from the hierglyphic texts which enables us to say specfically when Osiris began to be worshipped, or in what town or city his cult was first established, but the general information which we possess on this subject indicates that this god was adored as the great god of the dead by the dynastic Egyptians from first to last, and that the earliest dynastic centers of his worship were situated at Abydos in the South at Tettu {Mendes} in the North ; in proof of these statements the following considerations are submitted. In a Rubric to one of the versions of the lxivth Chapter of the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead it is said that the Chapter was "found" during the reign of Semti, that is to say, the Chapter was revised, or edited. or rewritten, or received some kind of literary treatment, during the reign of the fifth king of the 1st Dynasty. If we look at the version of the Chapter to which this Rubric is appended we find this sentence :----"I am Yesterday, "and I am Today ; and I have the power to be born a second time. I the hidden Soul create the gods, and I give sepulchral meals to "the divine beings in Amenti and in heaven." Osiris is mentioned by name in connection with "his city,' and Tem, Kheppera, Shu, the Urti goddess, i.e., Isis and Nephthys, the goddess Aukert, the Chief of Re-stau, Hehi, the Bennu,a nd the 4,601,200 spirits, who are twelve cubits high, are refered to, and we see that the whole of the religious and mythological systems of the Egyptians as made known to us by texts of later periods were in the Ist Dynasty.

Osiris as Water God

Among a people like the Egyptians it would not be very long before the annual rise, and inundation, and fall of the Nile would be compared to the chief periods in the lives of men, and before the renewed rise of the Nile in the following year would be compared to man's immortality, which in Egypt was taken for granted from the earliest times; and that this exactly is what happened the hierglyphic texts suppply abundant proof. Unfortunately, however, we find nowhere in Egyptian works a connected narrative of the life, acts and deeds, and sufferings and death, and resurrection of Osiris, the man-god, but we possess a tolerably accurate account of them in Plutarch's De Iside et Osiride. According to these Osiris was the son of Rhea, the Egyptian Nut, the wife of Helios, the Egyptian Ra, by Kronos, the Egyptian Seb. When Helios found his wife was with child by Seb he declared that she should not be delivered of her child of any month or on any year. By a stratagem, Hermes, the Egyptian Thoth, played at tables with Selene, and won from her the seventieth part of each day of the year, i.e., in all five days Osiris was born, and a voice was heard to proclaim that the lord of creation was born. In due course he became king of Egypt and taught men husbandry, and established a code of laws, and made men worship the gods. When Egypt had become peaceful and prosperous he set out to instruct the other nations of the world, and Isis riled Egypt during his absence. On his return Typhon, the Egyptian Set, and his seventy-two comrades, made Osirsi to lie down in a chest, which was immediately closed by them, and cast into the Nile, which carried it down to its Tanaitic mouths. When Isis heard what had befallen her husband she cut off the lock of her hair as a sign of grief, and then set out to find his dead body. At length she traced it to Byblos, where it had been carried by the sea, and she found that the waves had gently laid it among the branches of a tamarisk tree, which had grown to a magnificent size, and had enclosed the chest within its trunk. The Babylos here referred to is not Byblos in Phoenicia, but the papyrus swamps of Egypt, which are carried in Egyptian Athu, a name meaning "papyrus plants;" the Greeks rendered the Egyptian word for "papyrus" the Greeks rendered the Egyptian word for "papyrus" by BuBros, and some copyist of the Greek text misunderstood the signification of the word in this passage, and rendered it by the name of the city of Phoenicia.

The king of the country, admiring the tree, had it cut down and made a pillar for the roof of his house; it is this tree trunk which is referred to by the hierhlyphic sign tet, and which is continually used in the texts with reference to Osiris. It has been said to represent a mason's table, but the four cross-bars have nothing to do with such a thing, for they are intended to indicate the four branches of a roof-tree of a which were turned to the four cardinal points. When Isis heard that the tree had been cut down, she went to the palace of the king, and through the good offices of the royal maidens she was made nurse to the king's son. Instead of nursing the child in the ordinary way, Isis gave him her finger to suck, and each night she put him the fire to consume his mortal parts, changing herself all the while into a swallow an bemoaning her fate. On one occasion the queen saw her son in the flames, and cried out, and thus deprived him of immortality. Then Isis told the queen her story, and begged for the pillar which supported the roof. This she cut open, and took out the chest and her husband's body, and departed with them to Egypt; having arrived there she hid the chest and set in quest of her son Horus.

One night, however, Typhon was out hunting by the light of the moon, an he found the chest, and recognizing the body, tore it into fourteen pieces, which he scattered up and down throughout the land. When Isis heard of this she took a boat made of papyrus --- a plant abhorred by crocodiles--- and sailing about she gathered together the fragments of Osiris's body, wheresoever she found one, and buried it and built a tomb over it. Meanwhile Horus had grown up, and being encouraged in the use of arms by Osiris, who returned from the other world, he went out to do battle with Typhon the murderer of his father. The fight lasted some days, and Typhon was made captive, and was given over to the custody of Isis who, however, set him free. Horus in his rage tore from her head the royal diadem, but Thoth gave her a helmet in the shape of a cow's head. In two other battles fought between Horus and Thphon Horus was the victor. The great battle between Horus and Thphon took place, we are told in the Ivth Sallier Papyrus, on the 26th day of the month Thoth ; they first fought in the form of two men, but afterwards changed themselves into two bears, and they passed three days and three nights in this form.