Study Guide

Isis

  • Profile

    Everybody knows Isis—including you! She's kind of hard to track down, though. Why? Well, because she's the Goddess of Ten Thousand Names and a shape-shifter, to boot. She created a powerful snake whose bite only she could cure, to convince her father Ra to tell her his secret name. And now she has all Ra's knowledge and power, too. She'll do whatever it takes to keep her son, Horus, safe and protect her husband, Osiris, from dying forever. Queen Isis is clever, beautiful, and powerful. Gods and mortals alike want this goddess to be their friend. After all, she's a very dangerous enemy. People loved Isis so much that they kept worshipping her even after Egypt closed her temples, and her worship spread from Egypt all the way to London.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Isis

    Nickname

    I have 10,000 names. Pick one. In Egypt they call me Aset or Auset. In Rome I am Isis, and sometimes people confuse me with my gal pals Tyche, Fortuna, or Demeter.

    Other names: Queen Isis, Mother of God, Great of Magic, She Who Must Be Obeyed

    Sex

    Female

    Current city

    Rome. Even though my ancient temples are museums now, they liked the pictures of me with baby Horus on my lap so much, they borrowed them to paint the Blessed Virgin Mary. How cool is that?

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    Queen, single parent, weaver, magician, mourner, goddess of life

    Education

    Ra's Secret Name (which contains all the knowledge in the universe)

    Beliefs

    Political views

    I like anything, as long as I'm in charge.

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Nut (Mom), Geb (Dad), Ra (Stepdad)

    Siblings

    Osiris, Horus the Elder, Seth (my big brothers); my little sister Nephthys

    Children

    Horus the Younger, Anubis (I adopted Anubis. He's not my son, but Nephthys and Osiris had him… maybe. It's complicated.)

    Friends

    Thoth, the Seven Scorpions, Hathor

    Enemies

    Seth, that lady in the swamp who didn't help me heal my son

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Married to Osiris (he's my brother, too. So? We fell in love before we were born), widowed

    Favorites

    TV Shows

    The Secrets of Isis (It's all about me! How could I not like it?)  
    The Tudors (Palace intrigue and love. Fascinating!)  
    The Powerpuff Girls (Buttercup's my favorite.) 
    Alias (She can be anyone, just like me.) 

    Quotations

    "I have the same goal I've had ever since I was a girl. I want to rule the world."
    – Madonna

    "Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome."
    – Isaac Asimov

    "My bounty is boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite."
    – Shakespeare

    "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood."
    – Daniel H. Burnham

    Books

    The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (Egypt's not really a game, but if you're going to play, you should win!) 
    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (There are so many characters I can relate to in this book…) 
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (All about magic. Can it get any better?)  
    A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Classic tale of wizardry, and how hard it is to learn to be magical.) 
    Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare (A sad story about my favorite couple.) 
    The Metamorphoses by Ovid (Want to learn to shape-shift? This might teach you some things.) 
    Coraline by Neil Gaiman (A heroine who does what she has to even though she's scared. My kind of girl!) 
    The Awakening by Kate Chopin (While I love my husband and I'd never leave him, I appreciate Edna's wish to be a powerful woman on her own.) 
    Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson (A beautiful story about losing the people you love.) 
    Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe (Sometimes I wish Osiris could come back from the dead, but then, I read this…) 

    Music

    Born This Way by Lady Gaga 
    Hoochie Coochie Man by Muddy Waters 
    Like a Prayer by Madonna (I like anything by the Material Girl, really...) 
    Superstition by Stevie Wonder 
    Any music by Adele (a magical voice like mine!)
    Single Ladies by Beyoncé 
    Respect by Aretha Franklin 
    O Valencia! by The Decemberists 
    Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears 
    Black Magic Woman by Santana 

    Movies

    Fantasia (especially the Sorcerer's Apprentice part!) 
    The Queen 
    All the Harry Potter films…I'm not particular. 
    All the Transformers films. (Shapeshifters, like me. Only more metallic.) 
    Cleopatra (I wish I had Liz's clothes…) 
    The Mummy (It's not very realistic, but lots of fun to watch.) 
    Labyrinth 
    The King and I

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Spending time with my son
    The Nile
    Going to the beach
    Magic
    Food
    Riddles

    Interests

    Strategy
    Fashion design
    Brainteasers
    Magic studies
    Government

    Groups

    Proud Single Moms 
    Royalty
    Magic User's Club 
    Ancient Egyptian Gods  
    Omnipotent deities
    Mother goddesses
    Association of Women Funeral Professionals 

    • Spotter's Guide

      Isis isn't super easy to pin down. After all, she's a shapeshifter. But if you want to find her, you're going to need to get classy. She likes to hang out in palaces and other fancy places like that. Can you blame her? She is a queen.

      Sex: Female
      Age: Adult (but remember: as a shapeshifter, she can be young or old)
      Build: Average
      Complexion: Some say dark, some say fair
      Hair Color: Dark, if not covered by a cloth or crown
      Facial Hair: Nope
      Scars/marks/tattoos: None
      Jewelry and accessories: The jewels of a queen
      Clothing: The clothes of a queen, or a mourning woman, or a weaver
      Armor: None. Isis needs no protection.
      Type of Weapon: Isis only uses her magic.

      Typical Companions:

      Anubis
      Nephthys
      Thoth
      The Seven Scorpions
      Horus the Younger
      Magicians
      Snakes

      Known Hangouts

      Palaces
      Libraries
      Dance halls
      The opera

    • Sightings

      Jan 1, 1970

      Fifth Dynasty Egypt

      This is when we see the first mention of Isis as the wife of Osiris, written inside a pyramid. She didn't waste any time getting started. She's already the boss of kings, the Lady of the Throne, and Queen of Heaven.

      Jan 1, 1970 - Dec 20, 2019

      Late Period Egypt

      Isis just takes over. She goes from being the goddess of kings and thrones to the goddess of everybody—mothers, wives, family, you name it. Isis also starts taking over other goddesses' jobs and temples, and even convinces non-Egyptians to start building temples in her honor.

      Jan 1, 1970 - Dec 20, 2019

      Cleopatra VII

      During this Ptolemaic Queen's reign, Isis goes to Rome and even further. Cleo was so impressed with the goddess that she referred to herself as Thea Neatara, "the new born goddess" and Nea Isis ("the New Isis"), and dressed like Isis in public. At her suicide in 30 BCE, Cleopatra used one of the goddess' cobras to deliver the fatal bite.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 0099

      Isis and Osiris (De Iside et Osiride) by Plutarch (Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus)

      This essay, from Plutarch's fifth book of the Moralia, is one of the only full versions of Egyptian myth about Isis. Even though he was a Greek-speaking Roman citizen, Plutarch was so impressed with the stories he heard about Isis that he made sure they were written down for everyone.

      Dec 20, 0099 - Dec 20, 0199

      The Golden Ass (The Metamorphoses of Apuleius) by Apuleius

      In this story, Lucius really wants to be a magician. Unfortunately, he's not very good at it. While trying to copy a witch, who transformed herself into a bird with a magic spell, he messes up the spell and ends up turning himself into a donkey. After many adventures, Lucius-the-donkey falls asleep on a beach and dreams of Isis, who tells him to go eat one of the roses being carried to the sea as part of the Navigium Isidis festival. Lucius eats a rose, turns back into a man, and joins Isis' priesthood.

      Dec 20, 2019

      L'Asino by Niccolò Machiavelli

      The author of The Prince, a book about power and how to use it, started translating Apuleius' The Golden Ass (see above, 2nd Century CE) into Italian, and made it into a poem. Sadly, he died before he could finish.

      Dec 20, 1791

      The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      A boy and a girl who can't be together…who do they pray to? Isis, the goddess who lost her husband, of course. Mozart's fantasy opera includes prayers to Isis.

      Dec 20, 1975 - Dec 20, 1977

      Isis (Mighty Isis and Shazam Hour, The Secrets of Isis)

      A cool Saturday morning TV show, where Isis became a superhero in tall white boots, through a magic necklace that a high school science teacher found in the Egyptian desert.

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Legend of Isis

      In this comic book by Bluewater Productions, a 21st Century Los Angeles detective asks for help in his work, and ends up with a teenage super-hero version of Isis to help.