Two Hymns to the Goddess Aset (Isis) in Her Temple at Philae

The islands of Bigeh and Philae, located in the First Cataract of the Nile River, were sacred sites to the ancient Egyptians. After the construction of the Aswan High Dam the actual islands were submerged by Lake Nasser. Fortunately the entire temple complex of Philae was relocated and the Hymns to Isis can still be viewed on the back walls. As for Bigeh, only ruins remain.

It was believed that Osiris was buried on Bigeh and the temple on the island was referred to as Abaton or “untrodden place” because only priests were allowed to set foot on it. The god Thoth was called the “Great and Splendid God in Bigeh” and it is believed the temple on the island may have been dedicated to Thoth as well as to Isis.


Two Hymns to the Goddess Aset (Isis)

O Isis, the Great, God’s mother, Lady of Philae,
God’s Wife, God’s Adorer, and God’s Hand,
God’s mother and Great Royal Spouse,
Adornment and Lady of the Ornaments of the Palace.

Lady and desire of the Green Fields,
Nursling who fills the palace with her beauty,
Fragrance of the palace, mistress of joy,
Who completes her course in the Divine Place.

Rain-cloud that makes green the fields when it descends,
Maiden, sweet of love, Lady of Upper and Lower Egypt,
Who issues orders among the divine Ennead,
According to whose command one rules.

Princess, great of praise, lady of charm,
Whose face enjoys the trickling of fresh myrrh.


Isis, giver of life, residing in the Sacred Mound, Satis, Lady of Bigeh:
She is the one who pours out the Inundation
That makes all people live and green plants grow,
Who provides divine offerings for the gods,
And invocation-offerings for the Transfigured Ones.

Because she is the Lady of Heaven,
Her man is the Lord of the Netherworld,
Her son is Lord of the Land,
Her man is the pure water, rejuvenating himself in Bigeh in his time.

Indeed, She is the Lady of Heaven, Earth, and the Netherworld,
Having brought them into existence through what her heart conceived and
her hands created,
She is the ba that is in every city,
Watching over her son Horus and her brother Osiris.

~ translations by Louis Zabkar in Hymns to Isis in Her Temple at Philae