Aspects of Aset and Aset vs. Isis
Aset is a multi-faceted Goddess who worship spanned for thousands of years with ancient Egyptians, Nubians, Greek and Romans all honoring Her in some way.
For the most part, Her ancient Egyptian attributes are as the mother and maker of kings, the Mother of Heru and the Goddess of the Throne, its sovereignty and lineage.
She is a Queen, the Wife of Wesir who mourns Him after he dies. She is regal, stately and a member of the royal family.
After Wesir’s death, She conceived Heru-sa-Aset and raised Him alone. There are many spells in which She uses Her magic to heal Heru-sa-Aset from various dangers. She repels harm from Him and even stops the Sun Barque so that Heru-sa-Aset will be healed. In one of the papyrus, it says that She will heal anyone as She would heal Heru. So the help She gives Heru She will bestow to those Who call upon Her.
She aids Her son as He earns the throne, for She is the King-Maker.
Within Her relations to Wesir and Heru-sa-Aset, we find Aset as a Wife and Widow, a Single and devoted Mother, a Goddess who pours libations for the dead and who rules over the inheritance within families. This tells us about the transmission of the Ka–a vital essence which is a part of the soul–which is passed down within family lines and other lineages, such as for the King. The Kau of the Dead are fed when offerings are given, just as it is for the Gods.
This is why She is a midwife. The Ka is transferred through the family’s lineages through the mother’s womb. So She oversees this activity as the Kau of both parents pass to their offspring.
Ka is the energy that is Heka; it is the vital essence that makes everything live. Heka is “Ka-energy in motion”. The hieroglyphs for Ka within the word Heka are the same. Aset is the one Who Knows Ra’s Name and She knows Her spells. She is the Magician, par excellence and She knows the True Hidden Name of the Creator God. She possesses that Power too.
And the Ka, this vital force, which flows through all things–came from the Creator.
The Ka is within plants, animals, all natural phenomena in the world (wind, rivers, trees, etc.) and people. And this is energy, the source of magic. So all magic–witchcraft to Hekau to ceremonial magic are Hers. Everything She says comes to pass.
She was the Great of Magic and this epithet meant more than the power of the ka, but also writing and knowledge itself. And Aset knows everything in Heaven and on Earth, including Ra’s Name. She is a Goddess whose attributes include: knowledge, cunning, guile and wisdom. She is as one of Her epithets states: the Cleverest and Wisest of Gods.
She is the Goddess of Life and Death. She is the Widow and the Mourner. She wails while wielding a blade. Her cries and shouts can stop the Sun Itself. She mourns so that life will be renewed through death.
Her tears as rain cause the Nile to flood. Her tears bring the Inundation waters which feeds the fertile land so crops can grow.
She is Sopdet, the Star of the Heavens, the Brightest Star in the sky apart from the sun. This is why one of Her titles is “Second Sun”. At New Year’s, Sopdet comes forth (in some myths, this is Aset’s birth), and She shines in the sky for the rest of the time–but then She disappears for 70 days. Within that time, Aset-Sopdet is in the Duat. She renews the dead and Wesir with Her radiance. Here She is again, the Second Sun.
As Her husband is Orion, Sopdet follows Him in the sky and the cycle is analogous to the myths of Wesir’s death and Aset’s search for Him.
Aset is an Eye of Ra, a Solar Goddess and a Daughter of Ra. She is this as Sopdet and as Herself. She is bright and radiant as She is born in the Temple of Dendera; She illuminates the temple with Her light.
As a Daughter of Ra and a solar Goddess, She is associated with flame and light. She is Fiercely Bright as the Goddess of the Dawn, stars and sun.
As the Goddess of the Sky, She is associated with the birth of the Sun God at dawn, His death at dusk and His transformation in the Duat.
As the Lady of the West, Aset is the Sycamore Goddess who nourishes the deceased with water and milk. She is the Tree Goddess of dusk. She is the night-time sky and the primordial waters as Mehet Weret; She is also the Cow who birthed the Sun-God at Creation.
She is Amenti, the Goddess of the Dead and the Hidden Realm.
She is the Great Goddess with many aspects and forms. She is Tayet, as a Goddess of purity, cleansing and mummy’s bandages. She is one who clears away entropy with purity.
Many people will say that Aset absorbed Hethert’s attributes during the New Kingdom when Aset wore the sun disk/horns/uraeus crown. I tend to think that Aset inherited these things from Nut, but that’s just my UPG.
When the Ptolemy Rulers ruled Egypt, they had to make some Egyptian and Greek deities in common with the people. Aset (Isis) was chosen since She legitimizes rulers and Her consort was Wesir (and no animal head). Later a deity came about as a combination of Wesir/Osiris, the Apis Bull and Hades and Zeus in the form of the God Sarapis.
Isis of Ten Thousand Names was a syncretic Goddess of many Egyptian and Greek and/or Roman deities. She was associated with the sea, harbors, marriage and various other attributes She did not have as Aset. Isis was depicted in Greek or Roman garb and features. She was no longer only an Egyptian Goddess, but a deity of Her own. As a friend of mine once put it, “she is a different face for a different people.”
Which aspects of Aset do people honor?