Isis Amulet pendant with Chain of Wendjebauendjed
This amulet pendant of General Wendjebauendjed is in the shape of a standing figure of Isis. She is shown here as a woman with two horns over her head flanking the solar disk. The goddess Isis is wearing a tripartite wig with a protective uraeus, or rearing cobra, on the forehead. She is wearing a tight dress, a collar, and bracelets. It seems that she was holding the Shen sign.
Magic plays a central role in all the events involving this goddess: it is through magic that Osiris comes back to life, Horus is conceived and protected, and the deceased assisted in the afterlife. The magic of Isis was also invoked in many spells of protection and healing.
Many myths highlight her great magical ability and in one in particular – in which she learns the true name of the god Re – she consolidates her position as one of the most important deities in terms of magical knowledge and power.
In the myth, Isis creates a snake to bite Re, the sun god. Re is poisoned and can only recover from the bite by revealing his true name to the goddess: knowing the name of someone/something was tantamount to having great power over them…and that is exactly what Isis achieves! Re is healed and Isis strengthens her power.
The origins of Isis are obscure. Unlike many gods, she can’t be tied to a specific town, and there are no certain mentions of her in the earliest Egyptian literature. Over time she grew in importance, though, eventually becoming the most important goddess in the pantheon.
Third Intermediate Period, 21st Dynasty, reign of Psusennes I, ca. 1047-1001 BC, from tomb NRT III, Tanis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 87716