Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Isis: The Popularity of Egyptian Gods

Isis
In contrast to most male-based religions, ancient Egyptians revered female gods as much as males.  From as early as 3000 years B.C., goddesses were equal to gods in power, and pharaonic queens, like Nefertiti and Cleopatra, ruled the nation.

Isis came to prominence about 2500 years B.C.  She represented all things feminine and was considered a completely benevolent being.  She championed women, mothers, children, the poor, and the weak.  She was described as Queen of Heaven, Mother of the Gods, Great Lady of Magic, Lady of Green Crops, Mistress of the House of Life, and even She Who Knows How To Make Right Use of the Heart.

The worship of Isis spread throughout Egypt into many cities and even over the seas to other Mediterranean countries and Europe.  In some Coptic Christian circles, she remains an important figure even today.

~ ~ ~

Why am I posting all this?  Because according to Blogger statistics, the search term that sends the highest number of people to my blog is “Isis.”  She’s listed on my page of Egyptian Gods.  Yes, I included the page because I know how popular Egyptian gods are, but I honestly never expected that page would be more popular than any of my posts, nor that Isis would be the one that everyone looks up.

Questions:

Anyone have a theory as to why Isis is more popular than Horus, Anubis, or Ra?

I usually encourage my CPs to come up with original mythos instead of borrowing from old ones. But would you rather read a novel based on famous Egyptian gods or focusing on more imaginative but lesser-known Egyptian superstitions?

39 comments:

Kate Larkindale said...

I think a mixture of both could work really well. People like to have something familiar to hold on to, but once you've made them comfortable, feel free to introduce all kinds of new and interesting ideas!

Stephen Hayes said...

I read just about anything related to ancient Egypt. I find the subject fascinating.

Tamara said...

This is a really cool post. Who knew Isis was so popular? To answer the question--personally, I'd like to read about the more obscure stuff. I like stuff I've never heard of, but that's just me. I can see where a lot of people would be drawn to what they're familiar with.

L.G.Smith said...

Love the post. You'll get tons of hits on this one now too. :)

I really think all the gods are interesting in their own way. Whatever mix comes up with the best story will be a winner. Neat stuff to write about. :))

Jess said...

One of my favorite middle grade series features a cat named Isis. Horus, Anubis, and Ra come up in the books as well :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Well, Isis is a classy lady, and Horus, Ra, and Anubis are just the same ole male gods battling over men things. :D

As for the other question, lesser known Egyptian superstitions might make for a more original story.

mshatch said...

I agree with Dianne; lesser known Egyptian superstitions would make for a more interesting tale, imo.

Cathy Keaton said...

I'm not even all that familiar with Egyptian mythology, so I don't feel like it's tired and old. But, anytime you can be more original, whether making up a mythology, or putting a spin on existing known mythology, that's the best way to go.

Kelly Hashway said...

Can I vote for a little of each? When I wrote Touch of Death I focused on Medusa, but I took a lesser-known myth about her and made it my own. So why not Isis, but in a way people haven't seen her?

Christina Farley said...

I have no idea why. Interesting. My book was written based on Korean mythology but there isn't much on it on the web.

shelly said...

I would have to say I'd love a story with both the gods and superstition.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

Tammy Theriault said...

good question...i have no idea :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I used to read a lot about Egyptian gods and goddesses. I was always attracted to Isis and her story.

Sean McLachlan said...

When I visited the Temple of Isis at Philae, someone had left flowers on the altar. That goddess is still going strong!

Sean McLachlan said...

My personal favorite in the Egyptian pantheon is Sobek, the crocodile god of the Nile. He even has a temple at Crocodilopolis!

Nick Wilford said...

I always like finding out new stuff, so I'd say the lesser-known superstitions. I think it'd be cool to put those well-known gods into unfamiliar scenarios. Have a bit of fun with them. :)

michelle said...

Something to think about... since I don't know much, I'd have to say a little of both...

D.S taylor said...

Yeah Isis has always been the most famous maybe it’s because of films like Cleopatra? I think she is just the most well know Egyptian deity these days ;)

nutschell said...

wow. That's interesting! I've always love Egyptian mythology and history:)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Lynda R Young said...

Ha, I didn't realise Isis was the popular one. I hadn't actually thought about it until now. It's probably because she is the prettiest ;)

Cecilia Robert said...

I think a mix of both is great. It's always good to see people diverge a bit from the myths, give us a side of the gods that no one knew, or invent, just to keep things exciting.

Candilynn Fite said...

If she is the lady of green crops, maybe she could swing on over to my garden. Yikes. Fun post, Lexa. :)

Cherie Reich said...

Isis is awesome! And I love reading about major gods/goddesses and ones I'm not as familiar with. Then again, I just love mythology in all forms. :)

tfwalsh said...

I do like the idea of incorporating a mixture of both - something cemented in real facts and the rest made up:)

Kim Lajevardi said...

I like the idea of a mix of both as well. Maybe showing that the new ones were there and involved during the old myths we're familiar with. Great post, Lex!

Nas said...

Thanks for this interesting post. It was informative as well. I find these old legends and myths very intriguing.

Morgan said...

I'm not familiar with Egyptian mythology, so I'd like to read on the famous or the not so famous! Really cool post though... and funny that you get so many hits on Isis!

Heather Murphy said...

I wasn't familiar with Isis but she is intriguing now that I've read about her. It's interesting that she is so popular.

Georgina Morales said...

I love Isis. Since my early teen years, I discovered Egyptian culture while reading about occultism and paranormal stuff, I've been fascinated by the richness of Egyptian believe system. Isis is not my favorite, though, my favorites are Horus and Sekhmet. The first because, well, because he's cool, and Sekhmet because what isn't to like about a blood-thisty cat-godess? Anyway, I love to read about my faves but I'm even more intrigued about creative stories where little-known gods/goddesses/demons are introduced to me in a cool, interesting way.

Great post! I didn't know Egyptian gods were so popular, I might need to write a post about them, now!
Happy Thanksgiving, Lexa!

DMS said...

I think it is fascinating that Isis brings so much traffic to the blog. I love Isis and other goddesses. I am not sure why she brings so many people your way- but I think it is cool. :)

Happy Thanksgiving-
~Jess

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

That's funny. You never know what brings people to your site. I represent the ill-informed on this one. Thus, I think I speak for the majority of people. With slight embarrassment, I admit to have heard of Isis but not the others. I also admit to having watched Shazam and Isis as a kid. It was a fun show. Shazam and Horus, Anubis or Ra just wouldn't sound as catchy. So there's your answer: ignorance and TV (which are pretty much one and the same).

Take care, Lexa.
xoRobyn

Ravena Guron said...

I'm very ashamed to admit that I only know about Egyptian gods because of Rick Riordan. To me, reading about them was exactly the same as reading about lesser known Egyptian superstitions. I find them fascinating, and since then I've researched more about them, so I'm always open to the lesser known option!

Jimmy Fungus said...

On my blog it's McKayla Maroney that brings me a lot of traffic. So, I guess Isis is kind of like your McKayla Maroney. Does Isis make this funny scowling type face when she is unimpressed with something? Or does she have her own meme? Has she met President Obama? Otherwise, I really don't have any idea why.

Patsy said...

I don't know much about Egyptian gods so I'd like there to be a few familiar names.

Jocelyn Rish said...

I'm partial to Anubis (bad, feminist, bad!), but I'm actually fascinated by all the ancient gods and goddesses. I was actually working on a project focusing on that stuff when all the Percy Jackson stuff hit really big, and I knew I'd be way too late for the bandwagon, so I put it on the back-burner for now.

Pk Hrezo said...

That's very interesting, indeed. I never check my stats but I should. I think goddesses fascinate most peeps for their beauty and power. Even tho western culture doesnt have a typical female deity, the Virgin Mary is revered as such by most Catholics.
I think new mythos would be interesting, or a very original spin on an old one.

Sherry Ellis said...

I like that Isis is a strong female figure!

I tagged you in the You've Got the Look Meme. If you'd like to do it, visit my blog, Mama Diaries.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

An interesting article. I know nothing about these goddesses. I do like Cleopatra, though. Will have to look up the others.

Mina Lobo said...

Ditto what Lynda said, above; if Isis is the most popular, it's prob'ly 'cause she's HAWT! ;-)

I dig mythos in general, and would probably read well-known AND lesser-known gods written about my any of my fave authors OR an unfamiliar-to-me author whose book passes my patented Book Cover/Back Cover Blurb/1st Page Test (TM).
Some Dark Romantic

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