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Nephthys is the goddess of death, darkness, and the protector of souls. She is depicted with crown hieroglyph representing a house, usually with a basket, and sometimes she is represented by the hawk.

Nephthys was the child of Geb (earth) and Nut (sky), and the sister of Isis, Osiris, and Set. She was also the wife of Set. She infamously disguised herself as Isis, Osiris’ wife, in order to trick him into sleeping with her so she would become pregnant with his child. She and Osiris bore Anubis, who would later become the god of the underworld.

Set was so angry at Nephthys for her betrayal, along with his jealousy at Osiris and Isis’ success of ruling the throne of Egypt, that he eventually murdered his Osiris by putting him in a coffin and drowning him in the Nile River. This event was how the ancient Egyptians accounted for the annual flooding of the Nile each year. After drowning Osiris, Set opened the coffin and dismembered Osiris, spreading pieces of him all over the earth so that Isis could not find him and bring him back to life with her magic. However, Nephthys was incensed by Set’s behavior and she turns on him, helping Isis to recover all of Osiris’ body parts. With the help of Thoth, Isis was able to bring him back to life long enough to become pregnant with Horus, whom she hid until he was old enough to avenge his father’s death. Horus came back to battle with his uncle Set many times, and eventually he won. He kept both Isis and Nephthys in his court as advisors.

Nephthys was also notable as the companion of Ra in his boat as he approached dusk; Isis was believed to accompany him at dawn.

Be sure to look at our lesson plans on the Egyptian myths!

Nephthys Quick Reference


Geb and Nut

Power / Domain

Death, darkness, Protector of Souls

Symbols / Attributes

  • crown with house and basket hieroglyph
  • hawk

Notable Myths

  • Seduction of Osiris
  • Resurrection of Osiris
  • Companion of Ra at Dusk

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