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wild; therefore they presented to her the first sheaves of their harvests as an offering. The dew that refreshed the earth was venerated as the tears of Isis, in memory of her lost Osiris. A ship was carried in the celebration of her festivals ; perhaps to indicate that her worship was imported into Egypt. As goddess of health, she was believed to heal human diseases. Many medicines continued to be called by her name, even as late as the time of Galen, a famous Greek physician, who lived a hundred and thirty. one years after Christ. She was particularly worshipped at Memphis, where her Mysteries were celebrated with much pomp and ceremony. The festival continued eight days, during which some of her votaries scourged themselves severely at her altars. The sculptures represent this favourite goddess in a great variety of forms and offices. Sometimes she has a human head with horns, sometimes a cow's head. Sometimes she wears an Egyptian hood, sometimes she is crowned with Lotus blossoms; often she is shrouded in a dark blue veil. She holds in her hand a staff like a crosier, or a Lotus stem, or the sacred musical instrument called sistrum. Sometimes she is nursing her infant Horus, son of Osiris; sometimes she has the babe seated on her knee, receiving worship from those around her, with a guardian hawk over her head, encircled by radii of water-plants. This holy family of Egypt seems to have been a favourite subject with those old artists. Sometimes they represent Isis protecting the body of Osiris with her outstretched wings. She is always by his side in Amenti, where he presides as Judge of the Dead. She reigned with him while he was on earth, and when she died, they believed her soul was transferred to Sirius, which they call Sothis. Divine honours were paid to this resplendent star, which was consecrated to Isis, and deemed the Birth Star of our world. At the season when it rose before the sun, and could therefore be visible in its own light, commenced the inundation of the Nile, which spread fertility all over the land. One of the titles of Isis was, "She who rises in the Dog Star.” Prayers addressed
s believed ch departme the twelve
to her were believed to have great efficacy. Plutarch relates that Garmathone, Queen of Egypt, having lost her son, prayed fervently to Isis, at whose intercession Osiris descended to the region of departed souls, and restored the prince to life.
Egyptians believed in a host of subordinate deities, with attendant genii in each department. The twelve months were governed by the Spirits of the twelve signs of the zodiac. Each day was under the guardianship of the planet to which it was consecrated. The stars were animated with Souls, supposed to take an active interest in the affairs of this world. In hieroglyphic writing, a Star signifies a Ministering Spirit. Canopus, God of Waters, was an object of grateful worship; so was old Nilus, the deity of their fertilizing river, who was always represented by a black image. Kham, with the goddess Ranno, presided over the fruitfulness of Gardens and Vineyards. Her symbol was a small serpent, which they, as well as the Hindoos, supposed to protect such places. Anouké, guardian of purity and household ties, is represented with a Lotus in one hand, and the Emblem of Life in the other. Every human being had an attendant Spirit, from birth to death. Beneficent Spirits preserved health ; evil ones entered into men, and produced fits and other diseases. Air, earth, water, stones, plants, and animals, were all supposed to be under the influence of genii, good or bad.
Reverence for the mystery of organized life led to the recognition of a masculine and feminine principle in all things, spiritual or material. Every elemental force was divided into two, the parents of other forces. The active wind was masculine, the passive mist, or inert atmosphere, was feminine. Rocks were masculine, the productive earth feminine. The presiding deity of every district was represented as a Triad, or Trinity. At Thebes, it was Amun, the creative Wisdom; Neith, the spiritual Mother; and a third, supposed to represent the Universe. At Phile, it was Osiris, the Generating Cause ; Isis, the Receptive Mould; and Horus, the result. The sexual emblems
Orded as anim. It had a world was recortion of os sent intor in the
everywhere conspicuous in the sculptures of their temples would seem impure in description, but no clean and thoughtful mind could so regard them while witnessing the obvious simplicity and solemnity with which the subject is treated.
Concerning future states of existence, they held views very similar to those taught by the Bramins. The human soul was regarded as an emanation from the Universal Soul, and a portion of him. It had fallen from a state of purity and bliss, and was sent into this world for expiation. Eventually, it would be absorbed in the Eternal Source, after many transmigrations through a great variety of forms. Herodotus says, “ The Egyptians are the first of mankind who asserted that the soul of man is immortal. When the body perishes, they believe it enters the form of a newly-born animal; but when it has passed through all animals of the earth, water, and air, it again returns to a human body. They affirm that this series of transmigrations is completed in three thousand years."
The expression of Herodotus seems to imply return to a new human body. But it is generally supposed that they expected the soul would come back, at the end of that period, to the same body it formerly inhabited; and there seems no other way of accounting for the great care and expense bestowed on embalming the dead, the size and magnificence of the tombs built for their reception, and the numerous convenient and valuable articles usually deposited therein.
Diodorus Siculus says: “The Egyptians consider this life as of very trifling consequence, and they therefore value in proportion a quiet repose after death. This leads them to consider the habitations of the living as mere lodgings, in which as travellers they put up for a short time; while they call the sepulchres of the dead everlasting dwellings, because the dead continue in the grave such an immeasurable length of time. They therefore pay but little attention to the building of their houses, but bestow cost and care, scarcely credible, upon their sepulchres."
Before a funeral, a tribunal of forty members was assembled to inquire into the character of the deceased, and decide whether he was worthy of burial. Every one was free to appear as accuser, but false charges were severely punished. If the departed one was adjudged worthy of sepulture, deities were invoked to receive him among the just, and with many solemn ceremonies he was consigned to the
trail the dead, nich they 0 Supreme Bears
All the dead, both men and women, were spoken of as Osiriana; by which they intended to signify "gone to Osiris." Their belief in One Supreme Being, and the immortality of the soul, must have been very ancient; for on a monument, which dates ages before Abraham, is found this epitaph : “May thy soul attain to the Creator of all mankind.” Sculptures and paintings in these grand receptacles of the dead, as translated by Champollion, represent the deceased ushered into the world of spirits by funeral deities, who announce, “A soul arrived in Amenti!" Forty two Assessors of the Dead presided over the forty-two sins to which Egyptians believed human beings were subject. Each of these assessors in turn question the spirit that has just parted from its body: "Have you blasphemed? Have you stolen sacred property? Have you lied? Have you been licentious? Have you shaken your head at the words of truth ?” (meaning, “Have you been sceptical ?") Thoth produces the Book of Life, on which he has recorded the moral life of this soul. The symbols of his actions are put in scales of Thmei, Goddess of Truth and Justice, “who weighs hearts in the balance; no sinner escapes her.” These records are presented to Osiris the Judge, and if they are favourable, he raises his sceptre as a signal to pass into the abodes of the blest. Little is now known concerning the nature of the happiness supposed to be in those regions. It is mentioned that Osiris ordered the names of some souls to be written on the Tree of Life, the fruit of which made those who ate it to become as gods. Rather more is known concerning the nature and degrees of punishment. They believed there were three zones for the residence of souls. The lowest was this earth, a zone of trial; the second was the zone of the air, perpetually convulsed by winds and storms, a place of temporary punishment; the third and highest was an ethereal zone of rest and peace. In several of the sculptures there are indications of punishment by transmigration into inferior forms. Spineto speaks of one, where, on a flight of steps, which formed a communication between Amenti and the world, the deceased was represented in the form of a dog, with his tail between his legs, striving to escape from the god Anubis, who was driving him back to this world. Harriet Martineau thus describes another which she examined : “A hopeless-looking pig, with a bristling back, was in a boat, the stern of which was toward the heavenly regions. Two monkeys were with it, one at the bow, the other whipping or driving the pig. This was a wicked soul sent back to earth under the conduct of the agents of Thoth. The busy and gleeful look of the monkeys, and the humbled aspect of the pig were powerfully given. This was the lowest state of the punished soul; but it would have to pass through some very mournful ones, and for a very long time; to be probably a wolf, scorpion, kite, or some other odious creature, in weary succession."
In some of these monuments, the deceased is represented with a chain round his neck, led by a procession of Spirits, each with a star over his head. Progressive states of the soul, after it leaves this lower zone, are indicated by a series of twelve small apartments, the entrance of each guarded by a Serpent, with his name over him, and the inscription, “He dwells above this great door, and opens it to the God Sun.” According to Champollion, one series of these abodes bear this inscription : " These hostile souls see not our god when he casts the rays from his disk; they no longer dwell in the terrestrial world, and they hear nos the voice of the great god, when he traverses their zones" Over another series is written: "These have found grace in the eyes of the Great God. They dwell in the abodes of glory; those in which the heavenly life is led. The