Anubis is the Egyptian God of the dead and mummification. He is depicted either as a jackal or as a man with the head of a jackal. His parentage is a little complicated. His mother is the Goddess Nephthys and his father the God Osiris. Nephthys had to hide her son from the God Set who is her actual consort. She hid Anubis in the marshes of the Nile where Isis found him. Isis, being the mother Goddess she is, brought Anubis home with her where she and her consort Osiris. His child is Kebechet; Goddess of deification of embalming liquid and his consort is the Goddess Anput who is Kebechet’s mother. His symbols are the fetish and flail.
Like many of the Gods and Goddesses I have written about, Anubis also has enjoyed a resurgence of notoriety in modern times. He is a playable character in the video games Smite, War Gods and Pray for Death and was in the 2016 movie Gods of Egypt as well a character in Rick Riordan’s series Kane Chronicles.
After being raised by his father, Anubis followed Osiris out of Egypt when he left to spread his teachings. When Set, hungry for power kills Osiris he tears apart Osiris’s body and strews the body throughout the lands. Anubis assists the mourning, devastated Goddess Isis in finding her consort’s body to bring it home. Once all of Osiris is found, Anubis wrapped his body to keep all the parts together. Osiris became the first mummy at the hands of Anubis. Anubis refined funeral rites and showed humans embalming techniques. When working with the dead, priest wore masks of Anubis possibly to channel his guidance.
From there on Anubis was known as Lord of Mummification. He became the God of the Dead and embalming. His duties included guarding the door through which souls pass to enter the Halls of Judgment. He leads the souls to the field of celestial offering, presides over the weighing of the heart (a ceremony of judging the fate of the soul). It is Anubis who places the heart on the scale and then feels the soul to Ammit if the soul fails judgment. He oversees the embalming and mummification process to ensure the body is properly done according to ritual. He also supervises the ceremony of opening the mouth which ensures the reanimation of the soul. He also guards bodies to protect them from grave robbing.
Anubis favors certain people. He favors people who work with the dead and those who can speak with the dead and diviners. These people may ask his protection and his is inclined to give it. Anubis also is said to know the date of everyone’s death and that you may petition him to find out yours.
Though Osiris officially holds the title Lord of the Dead in Egyptian mythology, it is Anubis who does most of the work. It is Anubis who sees to the souls of the deceased and the care of their bodies. This is definitely a busy God as someone is always dying. Do you find him creepy or cool? I lean towards fascinating. Is there a God or Goddess you want to know about? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Till next week…