Anubis is the God of Cemeteries and Embalming. Anubis is normally seem as a jackal or dog or in jackal-headed human form.
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Sunday, 23 July 2017

Anubis - Jackal Headed God of Egypt

Anubis - Jackal Headed God of Egypt

Anubis is the God of Cemeteries and Embalming. Anubis is normally seem as a jackal or dog or in jackal-headed human form. He is normally depicted in black, and the colour is symbolic, it represents the colour of the body after the mummification process. Black is also associated with the fertile Nile silt deposited on the land, called the 'Black Land' and hence rebirth in the afterlife.

The nature of Anubis is probably best revealed through the epithets used:

Khenty-Imentiu - meaning 'Foremost of the Westerners' (the west was where the entrance to the underworld was located) indicating his leadership of those buried in the cemeteries.

Khenty-sek-Netjer - 'presiding over God's pavilion' The gods pavilion was the place were the ritual of embalming took place and the burial chamber. It emphasis is role as of guardian, protector and guide for the dead.

Tepy-Dju-ef - 'Anubis who is upon is mountain' again another image of Anubis as a protector of cemeteries.

Neb-ta-Djeser - 'Lord of the sacred land' which again refers to the desert where the necropolis and cemeteries lay. He is sometime also called 'Jackal ruler of the bows' which is another aspect of Anubis as a necropolis guardian.

Imy-ut - 'he who is in the place of embalming' and stresses the role in the mummification process. Anubis was the god the provided the iron for the magical adze used in the 'Opening of the Mouth' ritual.

He can also be found in the Book of the Dead, in the weighing of the heart ceremony and is described as 'he who counts the hearts'. In the Pyramid Texts he is sometimes called 'claimer of hearts' who purpose is to the free the King from restrictions on earth in order for him to join the gods in the sky. Anubis guides the deceased who have passed the tests and whose hearts have been vindicated as honest towards the throne of Osiris.

Invocation/Prayer to Anubis

The earth speaks: The doors of the earth-god are opened for you, the doors of Geb are thrown open for you, you come forth at the voice of Anubis, he makes a spirit of you like Thoth, you judge the gods, you set the bounds to the celestial expanses between the Two Wands in this your spiritualised state which Anubis commanded.

[From The Pyramid Texts: 796-798]

Although Anubis is depicted in the vignettes frequently, he seems to miss out in the actual text of the incantations of the Book of The Dead, and there is not one invocation to him that I've found. Thoth, Hathor, and (unsurprisingly) Osiris feature largely as the objects of praise and dedication, but Anubis seems to be happy with doing a lot of the work and getting precious little mention, other than respectful passages and mentions as introductions to some of the spells.  It is worth noting that as the Cult of Osiris grew, Osiris was associated with almost every major deity at some point; in the case of Anubis, Osiris, took over roles once played by Anubis.  In the Pyramid Texts, Anubis assumes greater roles, as judge and guide to the dead.  The cult of Anubis as the god of death and the underworld pre-dates that of Osiris, and he was relegated somewhat as the Cult of Osiris become more popular.  

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