Osiris

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Osiris

(ōsī`rĭs), in Egyptian religionEgyptian religion,
the religious beliefs of the ancient inhabitants of Egypt. Information concerning ancient Egyptian religion is abundant but unsatisfactory. Only certain parts of Egyptian religious life and thought are known; whole periods remain in the dark.
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, legendary ruler of predynastic Egypt and god of the underworld. He was the son of the sky goddess Nut and the earth god Geb. The great benefactor of mankind, Osiris brought to the people knowledge of agriculture and civilization. In a famous myth he was treacherously slain by his evil brother Set, who cut his body into 14 pieces and spread the fragments throughout Egypt. Thereupon, Isis, sister and wife of Osiris, sought and found his scattered body. She buried the pieces, making each burial place a sacred spot. According to another legend Isis did not bury Osiris, but collected the pieces of her dead husband and miraculously brought him back to life. Osiris' son Horus later killed Set and became the new king of Egypt, while Osiris became ruler and judge of the underworld. The worship of Osiris, like that of the sun god Ra, was one of the great cults of ancient Egypt. It gradually spread throughout the Mediterranean world and, with that of Isis and Horus, was especially vital during the time of the Roman Empire. Identified variously with the waters of the Nile, the grain of the earth, the moon, and the sun, Osiris was the great symbol of the creative forces of nature and the imperishability of life. He was commonly represented as swathed in mummy wrappings, wearing the crown of Upper Egypt (a dome-shaped hat with a papyrus tuft) and holding a whip and a crook.

Bibliography

See J. G. Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris (1907, new ed. 1961); E. A. W. Budge, Osiris (1911, new ed. 1961, repr. 1973); J. G. Griffiths, The Origins of Osiris (1966).

Osiris

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The Greek rendering of the Egyptian Ousir, Osiris was the chief deity of the ancient Egyptian cult of the dead. The cult of Osiris was only rivaled by that of the sun god Ra. Osiris was an agricultural deity, and he was usually depicted holding the crook and flail. He was god of crops, vegetation, life, and growth, and of the Nile River and its annual flood.

Osiris was the son of Geb and Nut. He was born at Thebes in Upper Egypt. When Geb retired, Osiris ascended the throne and took Isis, his sister, as his queen. He taught his people the art of agriculture and instituted the cult of the gods, building the first temples. His jealous brother Set aspired to the throne and, by trickery, imprisoned Osiris in a trunk and cast it into the Nile. Set later found the trunk, by chance, in the swamps of the Delta, and carved up the body of Osiris and scattered the pieces far and wide. Isis painstakingly tracked down all the pieces except one, the penis, and by her magic restored Osiris to life as an immortal god.

Enlarge picture
An osirian mummy prepared and laid upon a funeral couch by the jackal Anubis. From The Dawn of Civilization: Egypt & Chaldea by G. Maspero, 1894. Reproduced by permission of Fortean Picture Library.

Osiris

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Osiris, asteroid 1,923 (the 1,923th asteroid to be discovered, on September 24, 1960), is approximately 7.6 kilometers in diameter and has an orbital period of 3.8 years. Osiris was named after the Egyptian god of death and resurrection. J. Lee Lehman associates this asteroid with androgyny. Jacob Schwartz adds that Osiris is associated with death and resurrection.

Sources:

Kowal, Charles T. Asteroids: Their Nature and Utilization. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Ellis Horwood Limited, 1988.
Lehman, J. Lee. The Ultimate Asteroid Book. West Chester, PA: Whitford Press, 1988.
Schwartz, Jacob. Asteroid Name Encyclopedia. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1995.

Osiris

 

in ancient Egyptian mythology, one of the most venerated gods.

Osiris was originally worshiped in the city of Busiris. In the middle of the third millennium B.C., his cult spread throughout the entire country, and the city of Abydos became the cult’s center.

Osiris was the son of the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut; his sister and wife was Isis and his son was Horus. Osiris inherited his father’s kingdom and ruled it wisely and justly. His brother, the wicked desert god Set, out of envy slew Osiris and threw his body in the Nile. Isis found her husband’s body, but Set stole it and cut it into 40 pieces (in accordance with the number of nomes) and scattered them all over Egypt. After a long search, Isis collected them and brought Osiris back to life with the help of magic incantations.

The myth of Osiris, the god who dies and is resurrected, is characteristic of farming peoples and symbolizes the dying and resurrection of nature. The god of grain and wine growing, Osiris was considered the giver of life and water and protector and judge of the dead. During the Greco-Roman era, the cult of Osiris extended far beyond Egypt. The myth of Osiris was an important influence in the development of the myth of Christ. Osiris was usually depicted as a mummy.

REFERENCE

Mat’e, M. E. Drevneegipetskie mify. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.

Osiris

supreme deity and ruler of eternity. [Ancient Egyptian Myth.: Benét, 745]
See: God

Osiris

an ancient Egyptian god, ruler of the underworld and judge of the dead