In ancient Egyptian mythology, the god of the underworld was Osiris, a deity associated with death, resurrection, and the afterlife. He was one of the most significant gods in the Egyptian pantheon and played a central role in the religion’s rituals and beliefs about the afterlife.
Osiris is often depicted as a mummified king, signifying his authority and connection with death and resurrection. He wears the Atef crown, a distinctive white crown with two ostrich feathers on the sides, and often holds a crook and flail, symbols of rulership and fertility.
Osiris was the son of Geb, the earth god, and Nut, the sky goddess, and had several siblings, including Isis, Seth, and Nephthys. According to myth, Osiris was initially the king of Egypt, ruling the land with justice and bringing civilization to its people. However, his brother Seth grew jealous of Osiris’s power and success, leading him to murder Osiris and seize the throne.
Isis, Osiris’s sister and wife, managed to resurrect him temporarily with her magic, long enough for her to conceive their son, Horus. Although Osiris could not stay in the world of the living, he became the king of the underworld, a place where the souls of the deceased were judged.
In the afterlife, the heart of the deceased was weighed against the feather of Ma’at, representing truth and justice, in the Hall of Two Truths. Osiris presided over this judgement. If the heart was lighter than the feather, the deceased could join Osiris in the afterlife; if it was heavier, it was devoured by Ammit, a demoness, resulting in the second death.
Osiris’s story symbolized cycles of death and rebirth, aligning with the agricultural cycles of the Nile River. As such, he was also revered as a god of agriculture and fertility. His influence permeated ancient Egyptian religion and culture, and echoes of his mythology can still be seen in modern conceptions of the afterlife.