Today the story we decided to discuss is the Egyptian myth of Osiris’s death and subsequent resurrection by this wife, Isis.
I fished around on the internet for about twenty minutes and the best (no, really) that I could find as a quick summary without a lot of extraneous commentary and old-fashioned language was the wikipedia entry. If you aren’t familiar with the story, I’ll wait.
Ok, when I was a kid, Egyptian mythology did not grab me the way Celtic, Native American, Aztec, Babylonian and Japanese did. I have no idea why. I love some small bits of it, like the obsession with death. Mummies are super cool. And they pulled people’s brains out through their noses!
(I suspect that it might be tied up in the natural history of it all – Egyptian mythology changed with different dynasties, very drastically, and I could never keep it straight in my head. Plus, mummies aren’t magic – they’re real. I saw one the other day at the Field Museum, and before that at the Smithsonian. For me, Egypt was too overtly historical to be magical.)
That being said, I have always known the story of Osiris’s murder by his brother Seth and Isis’s search to find him again. It stuck in my head. I’d say it’s because Osiris becomes a God of Death, but he’s never really as keen as Anubis. (Or Hades, or Arawn, or Mictlantecuhtli, or Izanami). All I’m left with to explain why I liked this story is: what kid wouldn’t be fascinated by the thought of a God running around without his junk?
Sophomoric humor aside, I wonder if I liked it because it’s yet another example of a Goddess moving along in the background cleaning up after her husband/son/brother/lover/father/uncle/etc. Isis’s journey never struck me as quite as impressive as Innana’s, though. Isis doesn’t discover anything about herself, and might be viewed as merely performing her wifely duties to the absolute end.
So, readers, do you, or did you ever like this story? What about it appeals to you?