March 1, 2012

Nephthys Goddess of Lamentation

Nephthys 
She represented death and decay the invisible , and darkness ; one of four guardians of Canopic jars.
Even though Nephthys was frequently mentioned in the ancient writings, she does not seem to have been the direct subject of worship, nor was she accorded her own cult center. The result is that, despite many references to her, not much can be determined about her, and myths in which she figures independently of Isis are almost nonexistent.

Nephthys Egyptian Goddess Picture

She was the youngest of Nut’s children and the sister and wife of Seth, but she does not seem to have suffered the repudiation accorded to her husband after his split with his family. On the 1 contrary, she sided with Isis in the family feud and repudiated her husband-brother.

Since she was most often portrayed in consort with her older sister, she invites comparison with Isis, a comparison that rein forces the idea that Egyptians saw the world in terms of a duality. As Osiris and Seth represented sides of the duality, their sisters, also represented opposites, even though they were viewed as companions rather than enemies. Nephthys assumed some of the characteristics of her husband, and while Isis represented life and birth, Nephthys represented death and decay. Isis stood for the visible, while her sister stood for the invisible. Isis was associated with light and day, whereas Nephthys was associated with darkness and night. The females of the Ennead should be seen as complementary. It is as if the Egyptians were suggesting that both sides of the duality must be considered at the same time.

Most of the duties accepted by Nephthys were shared with her sister. The Pyramid Texts explained that she had assisted Isis in collecting the parts of Osiris' body after Seth dismembered it and threw its parts into the Nile. One early scholar believed that both 1 Isis and Nephthys’ roles were to assist in the resurrection of Osiris, I an act that associated the latter with the concept of rebirth. In the Book of the Dead she was often depicted standing behind Osiris j alongside Isis. Other vignettes showed her kneeling in adoration beside the sun disk as it was being raised into the sky. And still others showed her kneeling beside the bier of Osiris, assisting him to rise from the dead. She was also assigned the duty of protecting the organs of the dead. She, along with Isis, Neith, and Serket, was appointed guardian of the canopic jars that contained the organs of the dead person, and of the coffin containing the rest of the body. These are the four who can be observed spreading their arms in protection over King Tutankhamun’s funeral chests at the Egyptian Museum.

Normally Nephthys was shown as a woman wearing a headdress surmounted by the hieroglyphic sign for her name. Literally the sign meant “Lady of the House.” The sign had a rectangular shape, something like an altar, with a dislike object over it. Manfred Lurker thinks this was a wickerwork basket, which would be suitable for a goddess of the house. Others have thought it might represent a dish of water.
There is one interesting myth in which Nephthys plays a central part. According to this,

Nephthys and Osiris were lovers, a fact that was discovered by Seth when Osiris left behind a garland that had fallen from his head during their lovemaking. There is even speculation that Anubis was born of this affair and was not Seth’s child at all.

Even though Nephthys was not worshipped, she did play an important role in the worship of Osiris. There was a ritual at Abydos during the winter, in which two virgin priestesses paid homage to the god of the underworld. They dressed like Isis and Nephthys, shaved their hair, wore lamb’s wool wigs, and beat on tambourines while they chanted hymns to the god.
Nephthys Egyptian Goddess Statue
Today’s visitor to Egypt can find numerous representations of Nephthys, but usually they are seen in conjunction with those of Isis. The Egyptian Museum contains several fine illustrations of Nephthys, especially those in the Tutankhamun exhibit. Up in Luxor Isis and her sister, Nephthys, can be seen in such tombs as those of Seti I and Ramses III where they are featured in wall paintings and carvings. At the beautiful small museum in Luxor, Nephthys can be found on the mummy cartonnage (wrapping) of Shepenkhonsu.

Related Web Search :
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