Temple of Amon-Ra

Legend of Ra and Isis

Chapter of the god divine, self-produced, the maker of heaven, earth and the breath of life, of fire, of gods, of men, of beasts, of cattle, of reptiles and creeping things, of the fowl of the air and of fishes, the king of men and gods, in form one, to whom periods of 120 years are as years, of many names, not known is that god, not known is that god to the gods. Behold, Isis was in the form of a woman skilled in words. Her heart rebelled at the millions of men, she chose rather the millions of gods, and she esteemed the millions of the spirits. Could she not be in heaven and earth like Ra and make herself mistress of the earth and a goddess, she meditated in her heart, by knowing the name of the god holy? Behold, came in Ra every day in front of sailors, and was established on the throne of the two horizons. Had become old the divine one, he dribbled at his mouth, he poured out his exudations upon the ground, and his spittle fell upon the earth. Isis she kneaded it in her hand with the earth which was on it, she fashioned it in the form of a serpent sacred, and she made it in the form of a dart. Not did it move along alive before her, and she left it lying on the path whereon journeyed the great god according to his desire through his two lands.

The god holy rose up, behind the gods in the great double house and he marched on as he did every day when bit him the serpent sacred; the fire of life was coming out from him, it destroyed the dweller in the cedars. His two jaws rattled, his limbs all trembled, the poison took possession of his body as taketh possession the Nile of his river bed. The great god cried out to those in his train--

Come to me, O ye who have come into being from my members: I am wounded by something deadly, knoweth it in my heart. Not have I tasted pain like it, never was deadly anything more than it. I am a prince, the son of a prince, the divine issue produced by a god. I had come forth from the abode to see what I had made, was being led through the lands which I had created, when something aimed a blow at me and I know not what it is. Behold, it is not fire, behold it is not water. My heart contains fire, my limbs are trembling, my members contain the children of quakings. I pray you let be brought to me my children, the gods mighty of words, skilfull with their mouths, their powers, they reach to heaven. Came to him his children, god every there with his cries of weeping. Came Isis with her power and her skilled mouth, with the breath of life, her incantations destroy diseases, her word maketh to live the throats of the dead. Said Isis to Ra, O tell me thy name, father god; liveth the person who hath declared his name. Said Ra: I am the maker of heaven and earth, the knitter together of mountains, the creator of what exists. I am the maker of the water, the creator of the joys of love. I am the maker of heaven and have covered over the two horizons, I have set the soul of the gods within them, I am he who openeth his eyes, becometh the light; shutteth his eyes, becometh the dark. Riseth the flood of Nile when he giveth the command, not know the gods his name. I am the maker of hours, creator of days, I am the opener of the festivals of the year, the creator of streams of water. I am the maker of flame of life making to be performed works in the houses. Not was driven the poison out of its course, not was relieved the great god. Said Isis to Ra: Thy name is not enumerated, O thou tell it to me, and shall come out the poison. Shall live a person having uttered his name. The poison it burned with burnings, it was stronger than the flame of fire. Said the majesty of Ra, I give myself to be searched out by Isis, shall come forth my name from my body into her body. Hid himself the divine one from the gods, empty was the place in the Boat of millions of years. When it became about the time of the coming forth of the heart she said to her son Horus: Let him bind himself by an oath sworn by the life of the god will give his two eyes. The god great was removed from his name, Isis, great in words of power said: Run out, poison, come forth from Ra, Eye of Horus, come forth from the god and shine outside his mouth. I have made to fall down upon the ground the poison which is defeated. A certain one, the son of a certain woman, may he live, the poison may it die. Let the poison die, and let Ra live! Said Isis, great lady, mistress of the gods, who knew Ra by his own name.

Budge, E. A. Wallis, trans. The Gods of the Egyptians. Mineola, NY: Dover P, 1969.

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