posted on May, 31 2009 @ 10:43 PM
Episode 3: Isis and Osiris Part 1
SUMMARY: This episode begins to examine what Cooper calls "the passion play of ancient Egypt:" the stories surrounding Isis, Osiris, and Hourus. It
is noted that various versions of this tale exist, and that the details and relationships change throughout history. The story can be understood on an
"exoteric" (surface) level meant for ordinary people, and an "esoteric" (hidden or secret) level that only special priests and initiates would
To put the basic story briefly, Nuit, a very ancient sky Goddess, gives birth to five children with the help of Thoth. Among the children, the most
significant for our purposes are Isis, Osiris, and Typhon (or Set). Isis and Osiris end up married, and Osiris takes on the role as a kind of
universal king/main god. He is aslo identified as the first Pharaoh of the Egyptians, the creator of laws, agriculture, basic civilization, etc.
A jealous Typhon tricks Osiris into a kind of beautiful magic coffin, whereby he dies. A sorrowful Isis searches for him, finds him, and manages to
resurrect Osiris for a short period of time. With the resurrected Osiris, she conceives her son Horus, who becomes the successor of Osiris as leader
of the Gods. The line between Osiris and Horus is ambiguous...in some writings the latter is seen as a kind of reincarnation of the former, while in
other versions a more solid father/son relationship exists. Osiris continues after his death as a kind of shadowy underworld king as well, and a
dispenser of divine justice.
In a further episode, Isis conceives a second son with the ghostly Osiris, who becomes the "silent child" Harpocrates. The somewhat ambiguous
relationship among Osiris, Horus, and Harpocrates (sometimes father/son, sometimes incarnations of the same being) is compared/contrasted with the
Christian trinitarian ideas.
Many famous Greeks came to Egypt to study the "Egyptian Mysteries," related closely to above myths. Democratus, Plato, Pythagoras, etc. put in years
of study of these concepts before returning to their own lands to spark revolutionary new theories and forms of learning.
The "Egyptian Mysteries" and tales of Isis, Typhon, and Osiris have both a hidden (esoteric) side and a more open interpretation. The esoteric
theories are what preoccupied the famous Greek philosophers and formed the core of later Mystery Schools. While the general public would worship these
figures as gods or ritual figures, the inner core of priests and initiates had a more esoteric view of their significance.
In these core esoteric ideas, Isis was equated with human knowledge: the posession of such knowledge, it was believed, would allow man to transform
himself spiritually to become a God himself, or perhaps fuse with the divine (I'm a bit unclear on which is meant here). Her mate Osiris is the
personification of a secret order of learning, identified by Plutarch with the "holy doctrine" or Mystery Tradition. Thoth personifies the whole
sphere of human knowledge. (Remember that it was through his assistance that Osiris came into being in the first place), Typhon, the adversary, is
seen as representing ignorance, pride, fear, superstition, and other negative or evil qualities.
So on a hidden level, Osiris represents the "primordial knowing," beyond mere intellect...the divine "at-one-ment" through which the initiate
gains contact/fusion (?) with the Absolute. The story of Osiris's life, death, and resurrection illustrates the means by which mortal consciousness
can attain this ultimate contact with the divine. A composite order of initiates will go on to perpetuate this secret doctrine, spreading it through
many lands, under many names and guises. Some of Osiris's physical, representational characteristics and symbolism are examined and the episode ends.