The Return of Typhon Set
The Tales of Capricorn and Pisces
Chapter 1: The Gods of Egypt
Long before there was an Egypt, an earth,
or even a sun, there was nothing but the endless ocean of chaos.
As it moved, it made a sound which carried across its waves. "Nun,"
the echoing ocean roared, and from that time on that was its name.
The ocean grew brighter and brighter until it became a white light
which glowed with heat. It pulled itself together into a ball and
that ball was called Ra. Ra molded himself into a body with a head,
and as a mouth formed on the head Ra said, "I am the sun," and a
crown appeared on his head. His crown was the circle of the sun
and it rested on the body of a snake.
"I am bored," Ra said. "I must have things to do," so Ra created
the day. "Now there is time," he said, "and I will change with the
time." At sunrise Ra was a newborn baby who grew through the morning
until at noon, he became a virile man. He aged through the afternoon
and in the evening he was old and ready for death. Through the night
Ra traveled beneath the ocean of chaos and at dawn he re-emerged
as a baby once again.
Ra puffed with all his daily work and his airy breaths became the
atmosphere. "Shu," he said as he puffed, and this became the name
of the air. Then Ra dipped his hand in the ocean of chaos and shook
it. Drops of water were flicked into the air. "Tefnut," he said
as he flicked the water, and this became its name. The drops of
water gathered together and took forms within the air as Geb, the
earth, and Nut, the sky, were created. "Geb is very handsome and
Nut is beautiful," Ra said when he saw them. Tears came to his eyes
and as they dropped upon Geb, the tears became people.
Geb gazed into the starry face of Nut. "She is lovely," he thought.
"I wed you," Geb said to Nut, but Ra disapproved of their marriage.
"Separate them!" Ra commanded his son Shu, and the air god raised
the sky far above the earth.
"But I am pregnant," cried the sky.
"You will not give birth in any month of any year," Ra said to her.
Then he left his throne to Shu, for he was tired from all his work.
Thoth, the god of wisdom, heard Nut's cry. He was a clever god who
always found solutions. "I will gamble with the moon," he thought.
"If I win," he said to the moon, "you must give me extra light."
Thoth won and the moon gave him five days of light. He added these
days to the year, for at that time the year had only 360 days. It
was during those five days that Nut gave birth.
On the first extra day she gave birth to Osiris. "You are the spirit
of good," she said. The next day she gave birth to Horus the Elder,
the third day to wiry red-haired Typhon Set, on the fourth she bore
Isis and on the fifth she gave birth to Nepthys. The third son,
Typhon Set, was unhappy being the middle child and the youngest
son and he told his mother of his unhappiness. "You are the embodiment
of evil," Nut said to him and she disliked him from then on.
Geb succeeded Shu in ruling the earth, then Geb grew old and left
the throne of Egypt to his eldest son, Osiris. "I take you as my
wife and my queen," Osiris said, touching the hand of his sister
Isis. Together they brought peace and prosperity to the people of
Then, one day, Osiris said to his wife, "I must leave to civilize
the rest of the world. While I am gone, Egypt will be in your care."
Typhon Set watched his brother from his hiding place behind Isis'
throne. "I hate Osiris," Typhon Set said. "He has always been the
chosen one and I have been treated as nothing. Even Nepthys, my
wife, shamed me for she bore Anubis, 'our' jackal-headed son, to
our brother Osiris. I will kill him," and Typhon Set plotted his
Set waited until Osiris returned from his journey then, holding
a welcoming banquet in his brother's honor, Set brought in a huge
delicately carved chest to give as a prize. "This shall belong to
whoever fits it," he said. No one was suspicious. Each, in turn,
climbed inside. The last to try was Osiris. As soon as his brother
was inside, Typhon Set and his companions slammed the lid shut and
sealed the seams with lead. Osiris suffocated and his brother threw
the chest into the Nile river. With Osiris dead, Typhon Set claimed
the throne of Egypt for himself.
"What can I do?" Isis sobbed.
"You are a daughter of the earth and the sky," the air whispered
to her. "This makes you a sorceress. You can use your magic any
way you wish."
"I will find my husband and bring him back to life," Isis said to
the air, "then I will overthrow my brother Typhon Set." She went
to the Nile and followed its banks, searching for the chest which
contained her husband's body.
Along her route she found her nephew, Anubis, who was frightened
and alone for he had been abandoned by his mother. "Come with me
on my journey," Isis said taking the boy's small hand. He agreed
and became Isis' traveling companion, and in return she taught him
The task to find Osiris took a long, long time. They traveled for
years with no success and Isis was becoming discouraged when they
reached yet another small village. But this time, when Isis asked
if anyone had seen the chest, a villager said, "Yes. I have seen
the chest. A Phoenician merchant saw it and paid me to pull it from
the Nile. Then he placed it in his ship so I am sure it is now in
They hurried to Phoenicia and found the king's palace. As they entered,
Isis immediately saw the chest for it was placed as a pillar to
hold up the entrance. "What can I do?" Isis wondered. "I can't easily
take the chest and I don't want anyone here to know what I am doing."
She thought and thought, then came up with her plan. "I will ask
the queen for a job," she said and went to see Queen Ishtar. "Would
you like for your newborn son to be immortal?" she asked the young
queen, who nodded enthusiastically. "Then make me his nurse," said
Isis. She was immediately given the job.
Every night while the king and queen slept, Isis held the boy and
told Anubis to build a fire. When the fire was white hot she chanted
a magic spell and placed the baby in the flames to burn away his
mortal parts. One night Queen Ishtar was awakened from her sleep
by her baby's cries. She followed the noise and ran outdoors to
find him, watching in horror as Isis placed the baby in the fire.
"Stop!" Ishtar shrieked. Her cries broke the spell and it was only
Isis' quickness in pulling the baby from the flames that saved him
from being burned to death.
Isis looked into the eyes of Queen Ishtar and her disguise melted
away. Isis' body began to glow and her robes and golden collar and
bracelets appeared. "I am Isis, Queen of Egypt," she said. "I have
come here for a chest that holds my husband's body. It is in the
pillar at the front of the palace." Queen Ishtar picked up her son
and told Isis she could take the chest and go.
Isis and Anubis wedged a post in the palace doorway and pulled out
the chest. As they opened it, they saw Osiris' body inside. Bottles
of oil, a long white cloth, and urns magically appeared. "Rub his
body with these oils," Isis said to Anubis. He did as he was asked.
"Now place his organs in these urns and we will wrap his body in
this cloth." When it was done, Isis chanted a magical spell and
Osiris' spirit came to life, although his body remained wrapped
and preserved. From the spirit of her husband, Isis became pregnant
with his son, then Osiris descended to the underworld. "Thank you
for helping me, Anubis," Isis said. "You will now be caretaker of
this magic and will be known as the god of embalming."
Isis gave birth to Horus and she raised him to manhood in the marshlands
of the Nile for it was far from the eyes of Typhon Set. Throughout
his young life, Osiris appeared to Horus. "Your mission is to overthrow
your uncle, Typhon Set," Osiris said to his son, and he taught him
the methods of warfare that he would need to do this. Horus knew
he would be victorious.
While Horus prepared himself for war, Typhon Set heard about his
nephew. "So Isis and Osiris have a son who wishes to kill me," Typhon
Set thought. "I won't wait for him to attack me. I'll find him and
kill him now, while he is unprepared. But where will I find him?"
Typhon thought and thought, then in a stroke of inspiration, he
found the answer. "They are in the marshlands," he said. "That is
how Isis has kept him hidden for so long. I will need to distract
them and give them something besides me to think about." Typhon
sent his army to search for the chest with Osiris' body. They succeeded
and brought it to him. "I'll destroy Osiris a second time," Typhon
Set said. "That will keep Isis busy and keep her magic from aiding
Set took the body of his brother and cut it into fourteen pieces
which he tossed into the Nile. He watched with pleasure as the swift
current carried the pieces away.
When Isis discovered that her husband's body was missing, she and
Horus followed the Nile and, one by one, they retrieved thirteen
of Osiris' pieces. The one part they could not find was Osiris'
genitals, for a fish had eaten them. Horus learned his mother's
magic as together they used it to piece together his father's parts.
For the missing piece Horus made a model.
This ploy had bought time for Set, but it had also accomplished
something for Horus, for during his travels he collected an army
and when his father's pieces had been collected, he immediately
declared war upon his uncle.
During Typhon Set's reign the land of Egypt had become parched and
infertile for the tyrant displeased his father, Geb, and his mother,
Nut, and the land suffered under his cruelty. Word spread fast about
Horus' challenge and the ranks of his opposition army grew daily
with deserters from Set's forces.
The armies clashed on the banks of the Nile, but soon word came
from their leaders to halt the fighting, for instead the leaders
of the forces would do hand to hand combat to determine the victor.
Typhon Set and Horus strapped on their battle gear and made promises
to their ancestors in exchange for victory. Carefully and deliberately
they approached each other. A cry went up and uncle and nephew lunged
at each other. Dust arose on the battlefield and cloaked the warriors
as they fought and nothing but their dust could be seen for three
days. Finally the fighting stopped and Horus stood atop his uncle.
Typhon Set was defeated but still alive.
Placing his uncle in chains, Horus turned Set over to Isis to watch
as he continued with his army to rid the land of all of Set's followers.
It was while he was gone that Isis, seeing her poor brother broken
and in chains, took pity on him. "Please let me go," he begged.
"What harm could I possibly do? I am defeated. Your son is now lord
of Egypt. I have no army, no followers, no home, no pride. Allow
me my life."
Isis was moved as her brother spoke to her with tears streaming
down his face. "What harm could it possibly do?" she thought, and
she let him go.
"You fool!" Horus raged at his mother upon his return. "How could
you do that?" Together they tracked Set and, upon cornering him,
engaged him in a battle fiercer even than the first. It was during
this second fight that Horus lost his eye, for Set tore it from
his nephew's head, but Horus overcame his uncle and took his eye
back. Now that Horus was victorious, he banished his uncle forever
and drove him into the Red Sea with instructions never to return.
Horus, the king, embraced his father's pieced together body. "You
are vindicated," Horus said to Osiris, "and I will give you my eye."
He built a ladder to heaven so Osiris could climb up and meet his
ancestors and Osiris climbed to heaven with Isis on one side of
him and Nephthys on the other. "You have lived a just and pure life,"
Ra spoke for the assembled gods. "You shall represent us all in
judging the souls of the dead." After that Osiris, god of the underworld,
determined the future of every soul and Horus was judged the legitimate
heir to the throne and his descendants became the Pharaohs of Egypt.
Meanwhile, a tired Isis yawned. She stretched and spread her body
beneath that of her mother, Nut, the sky. As the stars traveled
around her face in heaven, she awakened as Uranos and after his
passage through life his remains arose from the sea as Aphrodite.
the Immortal Night ©2003, J.J. Kuhl