Osiris – Lord of the Dead (afterlife) – Ancient Egyptian Gods and myths

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Osiris – Lord of the Dead (afterlife)

Osiris – Lord and judge of the dead, one of the First Five gods born of Nut at the dawn of creation, and one of the most popular and enduring gods of Egypt. His name means “Powerful” or “Mighty”.

Osiris was originally a fertility god who grew in popularity and influence through the Osiris Myth in which he is killed by his brother, Set, brought back to life by his wife Isis, father’s sky god Horus, and descends to the underworld as Judge of the Dead.

In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, he is mentioned frequently as the just judge in the Hall of Truth who weighs the hearts of the souls of the dead against the white feather of ma’at.

He is an early example of the Dying and Reviving God figure in mythology who leant himself to the later version of this figure, Jesus Christ. Egyptian kings identified themselves with Osiris in death and he is usually depicted as a mummy (symbolizing death) and with green or black skin (symbolizing the fertility of the Nile region and life).

He was so popular that people in ancient Egypt paid to have their bodies buried at Abydos near his cult center and those who could not afford that would pay for memorials to be erected to them or their loved ones at Abydos believing that proximity to Osiris on earth guaranteed easier access to paradise after death.

His cult naturally merged with that of his wife and the Cult of Isis, with its symbolism of salvation, eternal life, the dying and reviving god, and the divine son born of a virgin mother would later influence the development of early Christianity.

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