Stories From Egyptian Mythology They Couldn’t Teach You In School

In Egypt, Isis was an immensely popular goddess who could be seen almost everywhere. But there are parts of her core myths that, while they would have seemed normal to the ancients, are often passed over today.

First, there’s the matter of her spouse. That would be Osiris, the eventual lord of the dead, who, even while fully alive, was also Isis’ brother. That’s normal enough for Egyptian gods and royalty millennia ago, though some adaptations of this myth conveniently forget to mention this particular aspect of their relationship.

When their brother Seth gets jealous of the popular Osiris, he tears the other god to bits and scatters his parts across the land, leaving a grieving Isis to reassemble her husband. That episode gets mentioned plenty, but what follows may be edited depending on the audience. Once he’s more or less put back together, it’s clear that Osiris is missing a key component: his privates. Some versions say that this body part was eaten up by a fish, but whatever happened, the result is that Isis — who’s apparently on a quest to conceive a child, dismembered husband notwithstanding — has to figure out a workaround. A model replacement suffices somehow, and she becomes pregnant with her son, Horus. Osiris, who can only be quasi-alive for so long, then makes his way down to the underworld, where he will preside as the ultimate judge of the dead.

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