ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ancient Egyptian Myth, Isis and the Sun God's Secret Name

Updated on October 12, 2011


Isis and the Sun God’s Secret Name

Re, the Sun God was known by many names to his followers but it was reported that he had one secret name which held his power and it was a name that only he knew. Legend was that if anyone managed to find out this name, they would be able to have a seat next to Re at the head of the Gods and Goddesses.

Isis, known for her scheming and planning decided that she would try to discover what this secret was. Re was in the body of an old man and he drooled- the spittle was collected by Isis and she mixed it with earth and magic to make a demon in the form of a snake that symbolised Re’s strength and power.



Re had a regular routine, every day he would take a stroll outside of his palace. Isis left the snake on a crossroads that Re would pass, so he would not miss it. The snake met Re and managed to bite him, just as Isis had plotted. The venom was very powerful as the snake had come from Re himself. Re became feverous and unable to cure the bite because although the snake was created out of him he had not created it and did not know what the cure was. The other gods came to him after hearing his cries but were not able to help him. Isis arrived and offered to help Re as long as he told her his secret name.

Although feverish Re still had some hold on life. He knew that to let Isis know his secret name would give her considerable power but he also knew that she was a magical and great healer and if anyone could save him, it would be her. Re tried to confuse Isis by telling her all the names he was known as but she would not give in and try to cure him. As the minutes passed Re’s condition grew worse he began sweating, shivering and losing his sight as the poison spread through his body system. As his body began to shut down Re told Isis the secret name but knowing that she would tell her son Horus he made her promise that she would make Horus swear an oath that he woud keep the secret as well as Isis.

Isis was then known as “mistress of the Gods” who knew Re “by his own name” and recited a spell to cure Re of the effects of the poison.


How do we know about this myth?

The myth was found on a papyrus from the nineteenth dynasty c 1200bc which is currently in the Turin Museum in Italy. There is a second source but this contains fragments only in the British Museum, London called the Papyrus Chester Beatty XI.

The myth stresses the importance of a name and the premise that knowledge of a name equates to power. Knowing names was crucial in making spells and their accompanying rituals- Devotees would require names to pay their observances to the deity. However what is significant in this myth is that we, the audience never learn what Isis learns- namely Re’s secret name. The Gods had to have their own secrets which influenced the power they had and surrounded them in mystery which made the deity status more alluring to devotees.

Isis cured Re by the use of a spell. In Ancient Egyptian society the dividing line between magic and medicine was blurred. About ten texts have survived showing magical/medical cures for illness. These texts show that spells and the use of amulets and ritual objects were used in combination with clinical observation and carefully constructed prescriptions, One particular text stated that the recitation of the spell is to be accompanied by a remedy of “scorpion herb” mixed with beer or wine. It is not known if the patient survived the treatment.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      the thing is that history teaching was always tedious- know we can use images which makes things more interesting........ you know you're not an English teacher when u say "know" instead of now.

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Pete- Because it's a secret!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Why don't u tell us the secret name ?

    • raisingme profile image


      9 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      The only thing that kept me awake during History class back in the day was the sound of my forehead smacking into my desk. Judging by my children's experience with History classes I would have to say that the teaching of history has come along way and history did not repeat itself in the case of my children. Thank you for this window into the past!

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      the thing is that history teaching was always tedious- know we can use images which makes things more interesting

    • Rob Hanlon profile image

      Rob Hanlon 

      9 years ago from Epicentre of everywhere

      Egyptians ... only egyptians I know is the ones in that Bangles song 'Walk like an Egyptian' ... History was never a strong subject at School, probably because I dropped it after 2cd Year .. but, I'm learning things through Hubs like this.

      Well done :-)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)