Goddess of the Tree of Life

The Goddess Iusaaset is one of the most ancient Egyptian Goddesses. Her name literally means “Utterer of Words, Conceiver of Worlds, Isis” and she is now considered one of the 10,000 faces of Aset (Isis). In very ancient times she was seen as “the great one who comes forth” and was considered the grandmother of all the Egyptian gods (except her husband the sun god Atum). Iusaaset is depicted wearing the Egyptian vulture crown with the uraeus cobra and solar disk between two horns; similar in appearance to goddesses Hathor and Aset (Isis).

Sunrise_at_Creation
Sunrise at the Dawn of Creation

Iusaaset was associated with the acacia tree, the Tree of Life. The oldest acacia tree was believed to be owned by Iusaaset and located just north of Heliopolis. There was the belief that all the Goddesses and Gods were born beneath an acacia tree. In the Book of Coming Forth by Day, the deceased goes to “the Acacia Tree of the Children”; probably referring to the Divine Children of Iusaaset, the Goddesses and Gods born beneath the sacred acacia.

birds-in-an-acacia-tree-wall-painting-from-tomb-of-khnumhotep-iii-beni-hasan-middle-kingdom
Acacia – Tree of Life

The acacia tree was renowned for its strength, hardiness, medical properties, and edibility.  Its many useful applications gave it considerable importance in the Egyptian culture. There are many spells and utterances that mention Iusaaset and her sacred tree. In one of the formulae of the Coffin Texts, wood from Iusaaset’s sacred acacia is crushed by the deceased for its healing properties. In another, the acacia provides an instrument of power that enables the deceased to avoid evil things in the Otherworld. In yet another text, the acacia appears to be an ingredient in a divine mortar. In another text, there is a magical spell invoking Iusaaset to heal all ailments:

“the hand of Atum which dispelled the fury of heaven, the disturbance which was in Heliopolis, the combative and victorious one, protecting its lord, the powerful one, the defender of Re on that day of the great fight to the north and to the west of the House of the Uraeus, Iusaaset … She has come and driven out all bad ailments, all bad impurities … that is in any limb of this man who is suffering.”

Iusaaset’s name is not well known in modern times however she was extremely important to the Ancient Egyptians as the Goddess of Creation and the Goddess of the Tree of Life.  She remained a primary deity throughout all eras of the Ancient Egyptian culture, even through Persian, Hyksos, Greek, and Roman occupations.

egyptian-tree-of-life-1

Borghouts, Joris Frans, ed. Ancient Egyptian magical texts. Vol. 9. Brill, 1978.
Butler, Edward. “Iusaas” Henadology
Ellis, Normandi. Dreams of Isis: A woman’s spiritual sojourn. Quest Books, 1995.
Vandier, Jacques. 1964-66. “Iousâas et (Hathor)-Nébet-Hétépet.” Revue d’Égyptologie 16-18.