Friday, January 2, 2015

The Advent of Isis and the Beginning of Work Day

Anyone familiar with the love story of Isis and Osiris knows the tragedy of what happened to them. In brief, for those who don't know, Osiris, the king of Egypt, was murdered by his brother Set, who then dismembered him and scattered his body all over. Gruesome, yes, I know. Osiris' grieving and loving wife, Isis, set out to find the scattered pieces and restores his body. Once he is restored, Isis conceives their son and rightful heir to the throne, Horus.

(image from Wikipedia)

At the winter solstice, Isis sets out to recover the body of her husband. It is at the Advent of Isis, or around January 2, that she returns to Egypt, having succeeded in her quest. These celebrations involved music and dancing and singing.   In “Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians,” John Gardener Wilkinson explains that the Advent of Isis involved the sharing of cakes that had impressions of a bound hippopotamus stamped onto them; the bound animal served as a representation of Set.

To have your own celebration, bake a cake in the shape of a hippo and decorate it in such a way as to represent Set. Display a picture of Isis, burn a white votive and/or Egyptian incense.

And be sure to play music, and dance, and sing. This is a time of celebration!

Consider it this way, the new year has begun, and it is time to rejoice.

On a side note, January 2 is also known as the Beginning of Work Day in Japan. It is said any project begun on this day will be successful. Seems like an excellent time to tackle those projects you've been putting off!

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