Egyptian Mythology

The Myth of Isis, Osiris, and Horus

What is the significance of the “resurrection” of Osiris?

The fact that the dead Osiris is restored to wholeness and fertility suggests that he is the first mummy—the representation of the possibility of overcoming death by certain rituals and procedures. It also becomes a metaphor for the receding of the Nile after the annual flood and the resulting fertility of the land.

In keeping with his role as the first mummy, Osiris’ body is protected by the magic and the power of Anubis and Thoth, and he becomes King in the Underworld. So it is that the Osiris myth provides the theology behind mummification. So it is also that the divine aspect behind all pharaohs is eternally preserved: the pharaoh dies as Osiris and his successor is enthroned as Horus. In the myth as in real life, the Pharaoh-Horus must continue the eternal struggle between divine order and the chaos represented by Seth.


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