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 Egypt.

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 revenge.

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 magic.

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 Phoenicia."

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 her son."

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.

Myth Index | Chapter 2: The Monster Returns

Tales of the Immortal Night ©2003, J.J. Kuhl


Website designed by Business eSolutions Contact them at