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Egyptian goddess of death, Isis was the wife of Osiris. She was usually depicted as a woman suckling Horus, her son. She was also identified with the cow goddess, Hathor. A legend tells how Isis discovered the ineffable name of Ra, the sun god. Weary of wordly affairs, she decided to become a goddess by using the name of Ra, who was already in his dotage. She collected some of his spittle, mixed it with earth and thereby created a serpent, which she placed in Ra's path. Bitten and poisoned, Ra was advised by Isis to utter his own name, since the name of the sun god conferred life on whoever spoke it. He did so, and some of his power passed to Isis, who rose in the Egyptian pantheon.

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