God Of The Dead
Osiris is the Egyptian Lord of the Underworld and Judge of the Dead, brother-husband to Isis, and one of the most important gods of ancient Egypt. The name `Osiris' is the Latinized form of the Egyptian Usir (or Asir) which is interpreted as 'powerful' or 'mighty'.
The oldest religious texts known to us refer to him as the great god of the dead, who once possessed human form and lived upon earth. After his murder by Set, Osiris became the king of the underworld and presided over the judgment of dead souls.
In order to enter his kingdom, the deceased had to undertake a perilous journey (aided by spells and amulets) to the hall of judgment where their heart was balanced against the feather of Ma’at (justice or balance).
He was one of the first to be associated with the mummy wrap. Eventually, Isis and her sister Nephthys found and buried all the pieces, except the phallus, thereby giving new life to Osiris, who thenceforth remained in the underworld as ruler and judge. His son Horus successfully fought against Seth, avenging Osiris and becoming the new king of Egypt.
The mummy wrapping is important for joining the body together, enabling Osiris to return to life.
Osiris was at times considered the eldest son of the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut, as well as being brother and husband of Isis, with Horus being considered his posthumously begotten son. In the Old Kingdom (2686 - 2181 BC) the pharaoh was considered a son of
the sun god Ra who, after his death, ascended to join Ra in the sky.
Osiris was not only ruler of the dead but also the power that granted all life from the underworld, from sprouting vegetation to the annual flood of the
River. From about 2000 bce onward it was believed that every man, not just the deceased kings, became associated with Osiris at death. This identification with Osiris, however, did not imply resurrection, for even Osiris did not rise from the dead. Instead, it signified the renewal of life both in the next world and through one’s descendants on Earth. In this universalized form Osiris’s cult spread throughout Egypt, often joining with the cults of local fertility and underworld deities.
The idea that rebirth in the next life could be gained by following Osiris was maintained through certain cult forms. In the Middle Kingdom (1938–c. 1630 bce) the god’s festivals consisted of processions and nocturnal rites and were celebrated at the temple of Abydos, where Osiris had assimilated the very ancient god of the dead, Khenty-Imentiu. This name, meaning “Foremost of the Westerners,” was adopted by Osiris as an epithet. Because the festivals took place in the open, public participation was permitted, and by the early 2nd millennium
BCE it had become fashionable to be buried along the processional road at Abydos or to erect a cenotaph there as a representative of the dead.
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