Why is Isis important to Egyptians?

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Isis is one of the most important goddesses of the Ancient Egyptians. She has been worshipped as far back as 3100 BCE and is one of the most popular goddesses to emerge from the realm. Even in modern mythology she has been adapted in various ways (the idea of Mary as mother of God is said to be derived from Isis).

She was known as the goddess of children and her priests and priestesses reputedly had both healing powers and wisdom. She was seen as an important protector of people who had passed on. She was thought of as the wife of the dead pharaoh, and was also credited with being the mother of the four sons of Horus that guarded pharaoh organs. She was wife of Osiris in some mythologies and was responsible for bringing him back to life when he was killed by his brother.  According to the same myth, her tears when weeping for Osiris were responsible for the yearly flooding of the Nile and the great fertility of the region.

She has been celebreated greatly in Egyptian mythology as both mother and wife.  She was, according to the original mythology, wife of Horus. Later versions pictured her as the mother of Horus and the Wife of Osiris. Her motherly role was made very important – she was regarded as the mother of the pharaoh, himself regarded as a deity in later egyptian conceptions. In some depictions she wears a throne on her head, and indeed she was supposed to be the throne on which the pharaoh sat. In some statues and pictures she can be seen to be feeding the pharaoh from her breasts.

Isis is thus central to Egyptian mythology as the ideal mother and wife. She was worshipped for thousands of years, not just in Egypt but as far as Rome and Greece. Her very last temple only shut down when Christian views against paganism lead to a clamping down on all such worship.

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