ISIS AND OSIRIS by Jonathan Cott


A 500-Year-Old Love Story
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 Rebirth of the story of Isis and Osiris in modern times: the 12th book by Cott (Wandering Ghost, 1991, etc.), a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and Parabola. Drawing on various sources, from Plutarch to Joseph Campbell to Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings (``the most volatile and audacious modern times''), Cott retells the story of Isis and Osiris, twin sister and brother, wife and husband, goddess and god--a simple story with many twists. Osiris seems to be the god of resurrection and Isis goddess of the mother principle--or, Cott says, so it seems in modern eyes. He interviews Dr. James P. Allen, a noted author of Egyptian creation myths and an associate curator of the Department of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum, who goes quite finely into family ties among the gods but thinks that the anal insemination of Set by Osiris and of Osiris by Set did not mean that sodomy was acceptable to ancient Egyptians. At Clonegal Castle, Ireland, Cott joins with Olivia Robertson and her brother Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, archpriestess and hierophant, who have their own Temple of Isis and spearhead a revival for worship of the Egyptian gods with the Fellowship of Isis, an organization of some 11,000 people living in 60 countries, including Ireland, Japan, Nigeria, the US, India, and New Zealand. Despite bad vibes in the tabloids, the 70-plus Olivia insists that ``We don't have orgies, we have ecstasies.'' Cott also visits the Ammonite Foundation in Egypt; and the Isis and Osiris Workshop in Edmonton, Canada, run by psychologists of archetypes, Evangeline Kane and her husband Franklin, who give the myth absorbing Jungian interpretations. More journalistic than inspired or in any way convincing.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-41797-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1993


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