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Egyptian God Anubis


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Egyptian god of the dead, represented as a black jackal or dog, or as a man with the head of a dog or jackal. He was the guide of the dead as they made their way through the darkness of the underworld. As a patron of magic, it was believed he could foresee a persons destiny, in this role he was the announcer of death. God of orphans, travelers, and the lost.  

Anubis, also known as Anpu and Anu-Oobist, is the jackal god of embalming. He is the Opener of the Way, or as some might prefer to call him the Guardian of the Veil. To some he was God of Embalming, Mummification, Guardian and Guide to the Spirits of the Deceased, Patron of Orphans and Lost Souls, God of Magic, and the Egyptian Personification of Time.

He was also considered a great messenger, one who carried messages from the Underworld to the Gods and Goddesses of the Heavens, as well as from these deities to mankind itself. He was a diplomat with a dark and sardonic nature, but showing of compassion. He served a vital role to both the peoples and the scheme of the Gods.

 In many ways, Anubis is the most enigmatic of the gods of ancient Egypt, a god who was neither what he seemed nor what he should have been. His mother was Nephthys, wife and sister of Set, whom everyone assumed to be Anubis' father. His real father, however, was Osiris, husband and brother of Isis. Nephthys, weary of being childless through her husband, took or maybe seduced Osiris to be a lover.



Egyptian God Anubis

Unlike Set, Anubis did feel compassion for humanity and did not wreak havoc upon human civilization. Though Nephthys wanted to have a child, she quickly decided that Anubis was not that child. He lacked the wild temperament and chaotic nature that attracted her so strongly to Set. Putting her "fling" with Osiris behind her, she abandoned Anubis, which was no cause of sorrow to Set, who, of course, had immediately noted how unlike him Anubis was.

When Isis found the abandoned Anubis, took him in and raised him as if he were one of her own children, Anubis became Isis' protector and helper.


Egyptian God Anubis

After the early period of the Old Kingdom, he was superseded by Osiris as god of the dead, being relegated to a supporting role as a god of the funeral cult and of the care of the dead. The black colour represented the colour of human corpses after they had undergone the embalming process. In the Book of the Dead, he was depicted as presiding over the weighing of the heart of the deceased in the Hall of the Two Truths. In his role as psychopomp he was referred to as the "conductor of souls". The Greeks later identified him with their god Hermes, resulting in the composite deity Hermanubis. His principal sanctuary was at the necropolis in Memphis and in other cities. Anubis was also known as Khenty- Imentiu - "chief of the westerners" - a reference to the Egyptian belief that the realm of the dead lay to the west in association with the setting sun, and to their custom of building cemeteries on the west bank of the Nile.  


He was generally depicted as a black jackal-headed man, or as a black jackal. The Egyptians would have noticed the jackals prowling around the graveyards, and so the link between the animal and the dead was formed in their minds. Anubis was painted black to further link him with the deceased - a body that has been embalmed became a pitch black color. Black was also the color of fertility, and thus linked to death and rebirth in the afterlife. Anubis was also seen as the deity of embalming, as well as a god of the dead. To the Egyptians, Anubis was the protector of embalming and guardian of both the mummy and the necropolis. Egyptian God Anubis

When the Osiris worship came to power, Osiris took over many of Anubis' jobs as caretaker and protector of the dead. As this happened, Anubis became 'He Who is Before the Divine Booth', the god of embalming who presided over the funerary rituals. The funerary stm priests would wear a mask of the jackal god during the mummification process, symbolically becoming the god for the rituals.

The preliminary stages of mummification involved the opening - the violation - of the body, an action that only Anubis himself would have been allowed to perform. The priest who took on this role was called the 'Overseer of the Mysteries' (hery seshta). It was thought that he would be magically become the funerary god himself and so be able to legitimately cut open the corpse for the mummification process. 

Anubis is usually represented as a recumbent black dog.  In the tomb of Tutankhamun he sits above a shrine equipped with carrying poles, watching, guarding the entrance to the Treasury room daring anyone to enter.  His role is to guard the vicera (internal organs) of the king, which were kept mummified within a beautiful canopic shrine.

Anubis' head is pointing forcibly forwards, his pointed golden ears are vertical, as if listening with canine precision for anyone who would dare enter.  His body is swathed in a linen cloth and around his neck - a gold collar.  Anubis' eyes are made of calcite (white) and obsidian (black) and are set in gold, his eyebrows are also made of gold, and are wedjat style - the eye of Horus.  His long forelegs reach out in front of him, while his long tail is draped over the edge of the golden shrine.  All around the sides of the shrine, which is made of guilded wood, are rows of double djed pillars and double sacred tyet knots - magical symbols for stability and protection.  


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