Anubis: Egyptian Canine God of the Dead
By Cynthia M on November 05, 2012
My spirituality is a topic that I've often debated over writing about on my main blog, Withywindle Nature (which is where this originally posted). While I'm relatively comfortable straying into personal territory as it relates to nature or other tangential topics, I've tried to avoid any posts that are overtly religious or spiritual. This topic can be touchy for many people and I know overly religious posts or blogs have turned me off in the past.
But I'm Pagan - a Witch, to be specific - and my spirituality is intricately tied to the natural world and my sense of place therein. And my spiritual life is in a transformational time, which is closely related to some of my nature studies. I need to journal my way through this process, and I want to share some of the more relevant connections there (and on Blogher as well), with the more detailed writing to remain on my personal blog. So my apologies in advance if I offend anyone by writing a bit about my spiritual journey now then over the next few months.
Anubis - the jackal-headed Egyptian God of the Dead, is associated with transition (among other things). Some of his functions in ancient Egyptian mythology included overseeing the embalming and mummification processes of the dead, and the weighing of the human heart against the feather of Maat to determine if a soul was pure enough to move on to the afterlife (if it wasn't, it would be devoured by the fearsome Ammit).
During a Pagan spiritual retreat I went on a few weeks ago, I had several encounters with Anubis, or Anpu (his true Egyptian name - pronounced 'Yenepu'). Following the retreat, Anpu never left my consciousness. I would see him in the corner of my eye, find myself thinking of him and he took over my meditations. Contemplating how best to continue the spiritual growth I experienced, it is Anpu who I kept coming back to.
Is it any surprise that I would be drawn to a canid deity? Of course not... it just took the right confluence of events to bring Anpu to my full awareness. In my most recent Windows on Wildlife post about jackals, you can see the direct connection between jackals, wolves and coyotes (coyotes being my totem animal). And as I am going through my period of transition, the connection to Anpu seems most appropriate.
On Samhain (Halloween), the day when the veil between the living and dead is thinnest, it became obvious that I should ask Anpu in a more formal way to guide my spiritual path. While my request wasn't specific to having him as my patron deity, I have left that avenue open as I seek to hear his voice and learn his teachings. I am quite curious to see how this evolves over the coming weeks and months. I mentioned my personal blog; if any of these experiences interest you, feel free to join me there for a more involved account of this journey.