Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blasts From The Past - Isis

You never know what is going to make an impression on you. In 1975 I was 11 years old when Isis first started airing as part of the Shazam/Isis Hour. I discovered a bunch of episodes on YouTube lately and have come to the realization that the show was really goofy and I don't mean the fashion.

Every episode had a lesson. Sometimes the lesson was stated by Isis talking to the audience at the end of the show but usually it was worked into the last conversations between the main characters. Not exactly thrilling television by today's standards. The issues the show dealt with weren't controversial. The plots were simplistic but how complex can you get in a 1/2 format with commercial breaks?

In spite of the simplicity the show stuck with me. Isis was the first Egyptian deity I'd ever heard of and she remains my favorite. A kitschy television show started a lifelong interest in Egyptology. I would have gone into archeology in college but the closest (and cheapest) university didn't offer those kinds of courses. I'm looking forward to turning 65 when I can go and take archeology classes at UBC for free.

Isis was the last Egyptian deity to be worshiped. Her last temple at Philae was closed in the sixth century. There are remains of her temples in Rome and London as well as many other cities. In a way, she's still being worshiped as the Virgin Mary. Many Egyptian depictions of Isis and her son Horus are similar to the way Christians portray Mary and Jesus.

I'm sure the creators of the Isis TV show never expected their Isis (and her raven Tut) to change anyone's life. My love for all things (ancient)Egyptian has lead me to some strange places. I only went to the movie Stargate because it used Egyptian mythology. I read everything I can get my hands on. I watch every documentary on the History channel (there are a lot). I collect images and nicknacks of all shapes and sizes. My Egyptian art address book is from the Cleveland Museum of Art (I've never been to Cleveland). I have bookmarks in the shape of sarcophagi. My pencil case is a sarcophagus from New York. I have a scarab necklace purchased at the Luxor in Las Vegas. Those are just the things I can see from my desk.

I love everything about ancient Egypt. The art, the religion even the politics. I can't seem to get enough. The great thing is no matter how much I read or see there will always be more. And it all started with a silly little TV show.

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