Lady of the House; Lady of Life; Lady of Darkness; Lady of Death that Is Not Eternal; Mistress of the West
Quiet Nephthys is overshadowed by her famous and more flamboyant siblings—Isis, Osiris, and Set—yet she, too, is a vital, significant and powerful deity. Nephthys is the spirit of magic, sorcery, darkness, decay, death, and immortality.
Isis, Nephthys, Osiris, and Set are quadruplets. Isis and Osiris fell in love in the womb and were married. Nephthys and Set were paired off by default. Set desired Isis, too. Nephthys wished to bear a child, but Set is a barren, sterile spirit.
Resourceful Nephthys conceived by trickery: she seduced Osiris by impersonating Isis and secretly gave birth to Anubis. Although she betrayed her sister and they underwent a period of estrangement, they eventually reconciled. When Set killed Osiris, Nephthys became Isis’ great ally and constant companion. Nephthys shared maternity of Anubis with Isis. Anubis invented the mummification process, which ultimately helped to resurrect Osiris. Nephthys also assisted in the temporary revival of Osiris’ virility, so that Isis, too, might conceive a child.
Nephthys is a modest but determined spirit. No cult centers have been discovered that are dedicated to her alone, but she shares shrines with others. Shunning the spotlight, Nephthys quietly sets about fulfilling her desires. She has her son, her beloved sister, and eventually found personal satisfaction as consort to Min. She is venerated with all three.
Nephthys is a guardian spirit, invoked in magical rites. She may be petitioned for fertility, especially by those who have been assured that they will never have children but wish to prove naysayers wrong.
Nephthys guards the threshold between life and death, fertility and sterility. Egypt was known as the Black Land with black, the color of rich, fertile soil, considered emblematic of life and abundance. The harsh, dry desert, which challenges survival, was known as the Red Land. In Egypt, the dividing line between fertile earth and the desert, the black and the red, was visible. One could literally stand with one foot on fertile land, the other on barren soil. Nephthys straddles, determines, and rules over that borderline.
Attributes: Skull and bones
Colors: Black, red
Birds: Vulture, crow, kite
See also: Anubis; Horus; Isis; Min; Osiris; Set
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by :Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.
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