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Legends Of The Gods The Egyptian Texts, edited with Translations

Page: 27

The next spell is directed to be said to the Cat, i.e., a symbol of the daughter of Ra, or Isis, who had the head of Ra, the eyes of the uraeus, the nose of Thoth, the ears of Neb-er-tcher, the mouth of Tem, the neck of Neheb-ka, the breast of Thoth, the heart of Ra, the hands of the gods, the belly of Osiris, the thighs of Menthu, the legs of Khensu, the feet of Amen-Horus, the haunches of Horus, the soles of the feet of Ra, and the bowels of Meh-urit. Every member of the Cat contained a god or goddess, and she was able to destroy the poison of any serpent, or scorpion, or reptile, which might be injected into her body. The spell opens with an address to Ra, who is entreated to come to his daughter, who has been stung by a scorpion on a lonely road, and to cause the poison to leave her body. Thus it seems as if Isis, the great magician, was at some time stung by a scorpion.

The next section is very difficult to understand. Ra-Harmakhis is called upon to come to his daughter, and Shu to his wife, and Isis to her sister, who has been poisoned. Then the Aged One, i.e., Ra, is asked to let Thoth turn back Neha-her, or Set. "Osiris is in the water, but Horus is with him, and the Great Beetle overshadows him," and every evil spirit which dwells in the water is adjured to allow Horus to proceed to Osiris. Ra, Sekhet, Thoth, and Heka, this last- named being the spell personified, are the four great gods who protect Osiris, and who will blind and choke his enemies, and cut out their tongues. The cry of the Cat is again referred to, and Ra is asked if he does not remember the cry which came from the bank of Netit. The allusion here is to the cries which Isis uttered when she arrived at Netit near Abydos, and found lying there the dead body of her husband.

At this point on the Stele the spells are interrupted by a long narrative put into the mouth of Isis, which supplies us with some account of the troubles that she suffered, and describes the death of Horus through the sting of a scorpion. Isis, it seems, was shut up in some dwelling by Set after he murdered Osiris, probably with the intention of forcing her to marry him, and so assist him to legalize his seizure of the kingdom. Isis, as we have already seen, had been made pregnant by her husband after his death, and Thoth now appeared to her, and advised her to hide herself with her unborn child, and to bring him forth in secret, and he promised her that her son should succeed in due course to his father's throne. With the help of Thoth she escaped from her captivity, and went forth accompanied by the Seven Scorpion-goddesses, who brought her to the town of Per-Sui, on the edge of the Reed Swamps. She applied to a woman for a night's shelter, but the woman shut her door in her face. To punish her one of the Scorpion-goddesses forced her way into the woman's house, and stung her child to death. The grief of the woman was so bitter and sympathy- compelling that Isis laid her hands on the child, and, having uttered one of her most potent spells over him, the poison of the scorpion ran out of his body, and the child came to life again. The words of the spell are cut on the Stele, and they were treasured by the Egyptians as an infallible remedy for scorpion stings. When the woman saw that her son had been brought back to life by Isis, she was filled with joy and gratitude, and, as a mark of her repentance, she brought large quantities of things from her house as gifts for Isis, and they were so many that they filled the house of the kind, but poor, woman who had given Isis shelter.


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