Monday, 22 December 2014

Sisters of the Valkyrie? (Part III) Goddess Isis

There are Valkyrie-like goddesses and demi goddesses in other belief systems, who resemble the characteristics of the Northern Valkyries. It makes you wonder if they belong to the same species or come from the same root legend. I plan to make several entries about the subject, starting with individuals and then perhaps go onto research different aspects of the Valkyrie.

The third entry on this series "Sisters of the Valkyrie?", is about the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis. Her name means "Goddess of the throne". She's also called Iset. Many carvings, statues and images of her show a winged goddess, or a goddess wearing an elaborate headdress consisting of a throne. Later her headdress was double horned with a red disc in the middle.

She's regarded as a powerful queen goddess and a mother goddess. However, her function is protectress of the dead, rebirth, the afterlife and magic. She can restore life, and help souls of the dead cross over to the afterlife. She's mentioned in the Book of the Dead as a gentle, beautiful and golden goddess who helps spirits. She helps the departed heal their pain, as well as helping them to move on, reincarnate and reunite with lost loved ones.

She's considered a goddess of the star Sirius, or Sopdet, as the star makes the beginning of a new year. And she's often depicted holding a lotus and an ankh. She was the daughter of Nut, goddess of the cosmos, and Geb, god of the earth. She's the sister of Osiris, Set and Nephthys. Both sisters, Isis and Nephthys were winged and protect, guide and assist the dead.

In mythology, Osiris was killed by Set, who later cut his body into sections and scattered the remains over the earth. Isis grieved. She went with her sister to look for the missing pieces of the god, and started to put Osiris together. The sisters found nearly all of the pieces in total. The lost body part was destroyed, as it was consumed by fish and never found again. It was his manhood. So Isis made a golden phallus to complete Osiris' body. In that she was a goddess of medicine, healthing and life.

After she restored the body and life of Osiris, she had a son named Horus and protected him from Set. When Horus grew up into adulthood, he became the first pharaoh. She's had many statues dedicated to her role as mother. During the phase of nurturing her boy-son, she taught people how to grow crops and she showed how to perform the art of weaving, spinning, grain grinding and domesticate animals.

It seems that she was worshipped in Hunter/Gatherer societies during the end of the last Ice Age. She'd helped to introduce the craft of making medicine properties also and displayed teachings of agriculture. This is a common theme in all world mythologies that indicate the gods and goddesses showed mortal humans how to develope, farm, build and produce with metals.

Besides this, other indications that Isis was very similar to the Valkyrie of Norse myth, is not just her key position as leading the spirits to the next world after death, but her appearance. She, her sister and few other Egyptian goddesses, are winged.

This suggests that not only were there valkyrie type female figures in other pantheons, but that the valkyries were goddesses. 

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