"Writing is no answer but when you feel deeply there is little else to do." -- James Baker Hall

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Is the Myth of Isis and Osiris, Horus and Set Relevant in Today's World?

     This is the question an Egyptian friend of mine recently asked, and I thought it was a good question. I don't think any myth ever stops being relevant, and this particular myth is alive and kicking. Consider the Middle East, and in this particular case, Egypt. The healing that comes in that great story comes through gaining the clarity of vision through the Eye of Horus. Horus, the younger generation of heroes, is always battling chaos, trying to return his kingdom to the bounty that existed during the time of his father, Osiris. There are, of course, a couple of layers with this myth.
     Set and Horus battle for years, years!!! eons. Set feels that he never received his fair share of th divine promise, that Osiris had it all handed to him. Then he killed Osiris to claim himself as heir to the throne, even attempting to prevent Horus from being born. But the gods and goddesses watch over this divine but all too human drama. Horus grows up and wants his birthright.
The king, an embodiment of the god Horus, is
suckled by the goddess Hathor, who is
depicted here as the sacred sycamore.
     The battle is ongoing, each trying to murder the other, until the goddesses Isis and Hathor intervene because they are the embodiments of human and spiritual love. When Set overpowers and blinds Horus, his beloved Hathor heals his blinded eye with the milk of her breast.  While Horus is being trained to be a spiritual warrior, he meets his father Osiris, Lord of Duat, in the dreamtime. Osiris teaches him through the subconcious, through the principles of what we might consider dream, synchronicity, and the imagination or psychic realm. 
     And remember here the point is not missed that the dream world contains our shadows, which really is what we must battle—that is the dark aspect or ourselves, the disavowed.  Oh, I’m the good guy, one might protest. Right. And so is the other. Neither side must demonize the other.
     The myth also tells us In the midst of the battle the myth tell us that Isis tried to intervene and stay the hand of Horus when he was in control, because, or course, neither side can be 'supreme' they must work in conjunction with each other through love. But Horus didn't like that idea so he cut off his mother's head. I think we can see that happening today. Set imprisons Isis to prevent her from birthing and nurturing Horus. Horus angry with his mother cuts off her head. How's the feminine principle doing in that battle? She is getting lost and beat up fairly badly.
     But Thoth, god of wisdom replaces her head with that of Hathor, that beautiful goddess of human and divine love.
     That is the principle LOVE that balances the battle between left and right. Do you think it is applicable today in what is going on in the world? Well, yes, I think so.
     I see that battle between Horus and Set as what is happening in Egypt today. And I see that when both sides try to imprison or cut off the feminine voice, the battle will do nothing but continue to rage. Love must prevail, and cosmic order. Isis and Ma'at.
     Of course, that is just my take on it. You can decide for yourself who is Horus, who is Set, and who is Osiris.  And I will say, that in Jungian terms, we all have within us a feminine archetype that operates on the principle of love.  Call upon her. Go forth and enact a great love.


  1. Normandi, After my meditation time this morning, I read your poignant piece on the relevance of mythology in today's world. Your words moved me so greatly that I returned to my bed, to Dreamtime. You wisely stated that neither "side" need demonize the other. Equally, we must embrace our own inner deamons, because each of these Archetypes is present within us, to varying degrees. You have inspired me today to move forth with greater awareness, to bring acts of love into my day. Thank you!!

  2. Hello Normandi, I recently had a dream in which i see some of the most important elements of this myth. I therefore ask you, knowing some of jungs insights, how can i analyze my dream with this myth. My Dream came the night i started my first day at work (first time im working for real), lately ive became a vegetarian aswell. To sum it up, i became a hawk to save my sister, because she was going to be married against her will. This is the element that reminds me of the myth, as seen when Isis becomes a hawk to save osiris. So my question is, how can i understand more of my dream studying this myth?