Nephthys is that which is beneath the earth and invisible.
~ Plutarch, Greek historian (45-120 C.E.)
As mentioned yesterday, trying to translate the ancient Egyptian feast days to the modern calendar is tricky business, especially since the calendar varied in different locations and different dynasties of ancient Khemet. And of course our own modern, solar calendar has been fiddled with many times over the centuries.
Still, many scholars would reckon that this would be the feast day of the Nativity of the Goddess Nephthys.
Nephthys is the daughter of the earth God Geb and the sky Goddess Nut, making Her the sister of Isis. She is the benevolent Goddess of the dead, and is associated with the manifestation of life which is birthed from death.
Goddess scholar Patricia Telesco writes, “Nephthys’s themes are death, spirits, and rebirth. Her symbols are fire, baskets, and myrrh. This Egyptian funerary Goddess had a hawk for a sacred animal. Together they guide and watch the souls of our loved ones in the afterlife. In Egyptian tradition, Nephthys lives in the east, where She can receive the rising sun, a symbol of the hopefulness She can instill, and of resurrection.”
Historian Plutarch noted that She presides over the workings of nature and life forces that are not seen. Naturally then, She is also associated with psychic powers and hidden wisdom.
Like Her sister Isis, She is a guardian of reproduction and regeneration. It was Isis and Nephthys who assisted at the rising of the Sun-God Ra, when He rose upon the earth for the first time.
And Nephthys, with Her sister, prepared the funeral for their brother Osiris, and assisted at His resurrection.
In more modern times, on this day in 1993, the Second Parliament of World Religions opened. The first one, which had been held one hundred years earlier, had been the first major interfaith conference in recorded history, bringing together eastern and western spiritual leaders to learn about each other.
The 1993 meeting was held in Chicago from August 28 – Sept. 5. Three of the largest Pagan organizations in the country were numbered among the Parliament’s 125 co-sponsoring groups, for the first time adding nature spirituality to the paths taking part in the conversation.
From that meeting, a global ethic was adopted that condemns hatred, aggression, oppression, and environmental abuses committed in the name of religion.
It has been held several times since then, in 1999, 2004, 2007 (at the Monterrey Forum of Cultures), and in 2009.
Despite last year’s Parliament’s cancellation, due to economic difficulties in the host country, the next gathering of the World Parliament of Religions is planned for later this year, October 15–19, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
May people of all faiths find our commonality and establish peaceful solidarity with one another, for the betterment of all.