He was the chief god of the old Egyptian mythology, the husband of Isis, and the father of Horus. Jabloniski says that Osiris represented the sun only, but Plutarch, whose opportunity of knowing was better, asserts that, while generally considered as a symbol of the solar orb, some of the Egyptian philosophers retarded him as a river god, and called him Nilus. But the truth is, that Osiris represented the male, active or generative, powers of nature; while Isis represented its female, passive or prolific, powers. Thus, when Osiris was the sun, Isis was the earth, to be vivified by his rays; when he was the Nile, Isis was the land of Egypt, fertilized by his overflow. Such is the mythological or mystical sense in which Osiris was received. Historically, he is said to have been a great and powerful king, who, leaving Egypt, traversed the world, leading a host of fauns or satyrs, and other fabulous beings in his train, actually an army of followers. He civilized the whole earth, and taught mankind to fertilize the soil and to perform the works of agriculture. We see here the idea which was subsequently expressed by the Greeks in their travels of Dionysus, and the wanderings of Ceres; and it is not improbable that the old Freemasons had some dim perception of this story, which they have incorporated, under the figure of Euclid, in their Legend of the Craft.
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