ISIS (Aset, Ast)
Symbols:tiet (the "Knot of Isis"), throne, kite, scorpion, sistrum
Myths: "Isis and Osiris", "Isis and the Seven Scorpions"
Cult Center: Heliopolis, Philae
Isis was the sister of Osiris (who was also her husband), Nephthys and Seth, the daughter of Nut and Geb and the mother of Horus the Child.
Isis is depicted as a woman wearing a vulture head-dress and the solar disk between a pair of horns (which is sometimes underneath the symbol of her name , the throne). Occasionally she wears the double-crowns of the North and the South with the feather of Ma'at, or a pair of ram's horns. Isis as a woman (not a goddess) is portrayed with the ordinary head-dress of a woman, but with the uraeus over her forehead.
As the wife of Osiris, Isis assisted her husband during his earthly reign. In the Pyramid Texts, allusions are made that indicate that Isis foresaw her husband's murder. Following his death, Isis tirelessly searched for his body so that he may be properly buried and may rest in peace in the Underworld. Through her magic, she brought Osiris back to life so that he could impregnate her with their son Horus.
Isis was a vital link between the gods and mankind. The pharaoh was her son, as the living Horus. In the Pyramid Texts the pharaoh suckles as Isis' divine breasts. There are numerous statues and imagery of Isis holding the young Horus in her lap. Often the images of the queen-mother and current pharaoh were styled in the same way. Isis protected Horus during his childhood from his uncle Seth who wished to murder him. It was her hole that he might one day grow up to avenge his father's murder.
In the Book of the Dead, Isis is regarded as the giver of life and food to the dead. She may also be one of the judges of the dead. Another of her roles was to protect Imsety, one of the four sons of Horus, as he guarded over the liver of the deceased.
Isis was a great magician and is famous for the use of her magical skills. For example, she created the first cobra and used it's venomous bite to coerce Re into revealing his secret name.
From the beginning of Egypt's history to the end, Isis was the greatest goddess of Egypt. She was the beneficial goddess and mother whose love encompassed every living creature. Isis was also the purest example of the loving wife and mother and it was in this capacity that the Egyptian people loved her the most.
Her worship spread well beyond the borders of Egypt, as far away as England. The works of the classical writers identified her with Persephone, Tethys, Athene, etc, just as Osiris was associated with Hades, Dionysos and other foreign gods.
In fact, the early Christians deferred some of her attributes to the Virgin Mary. As a loving and protective mother, Isis appealed to the Eastern peoples who were familiar with her cult. The images of Isis suckling the Horus child undoubtedly inspired the multitude of icons showing the Madonna and Child.