Who is Anubis?

Anubis is the Greek name for the Egyptian god otherwise known as Anpu.  He is also commonly known as Yinepu.

Anubis is a funereal deity, who presides over the process of mummification and guides the dead to the after-life. Anubis is therefore a psychopomp.

Anubis was once known as a chief deity of the dead, but Osiris took later took over that position. Anubis is much-loved in modern culture and can be seen in Popular films like “The Mummy”. Although only recently have I had the opportunity to look into Kemetic practice more in-depth, I have honoured Anubis since the beginning of my path. He was always calling me, always guiding me and guarding me.

Anubis is often depicted as a man with the head of a jackal. He is also sometimes shown as a jackal resting upon a sarcophagus. Jackals and dogs would prowl the tombs looking for food,  and would often scavenge for corpses, as such Dogs and Hounds have been known in many cultures as psychompomps and death omens.

Anubis carries a staff and is often seen with the Ankh, a symbol of life and thus the “keys” to the eternal realms of the after-life.

Anubis is also well-known for his presence in the judgement hall of Ma’at, supervising the Scales of truth.

Anubis is the son of Nephthys and Osiris. Abandoned at birth, he was adopted by Isis, and became known as the patron of orphans and the wandering, lost souls of the dead.

Anubis has gone by the name Am Ut as the dweller in the embalming chambers, Khent Sehet as one who presides in the place of purification.

Anubis is also known as the guardian of secrets in that he embalmed the flesh, he was also the one to perform the ritual of the opening of the mouth. Priests in ancient Egypt would wear his mask and perform these embalming ceremonies .

Anubis to those who worship him and are dedicated to him, is a god of much more than just death and embalming. To me he is the keeper of all secrets and thus of mystical and occult knowledge.

To me he grants me strength when I feel I will buckle under the pressures of life and pain. He helps me to look at problems from a different angle when he smacks me over the head with his staff, much like Rafiki in the “Lion King”. Anubis, although not considered a trickster deity in his original mythology is certainly a Trickster God in my own experience.

Anubis’ energy is balancing, cleansing, fortifying, comforting and above all loving. Anubis sets hard tasks for those who call him Friend. He requires ceremony, but not servitude. Ceremony may be as simple as sharing a cup of tea or coffee to as complex as the High Magic Rituals of the Golden Dawn.

Anubis is not only a guardian during the night as a jackal but is also a guardian during the day as dog. And like the dog and jackal he has a playful nature. I am constantly reminded of his devotion to the dead when I see the love and devotion my black dogs have with me, I am constantly reminded of his playful nature when I see that naughty glint in my dogs’ eyes. I am always reminded of his protectiveness when I see the protection that my dogs guard me with. It is then my duty as his priestess to offer the same kind of devotion, protection, love and playfulness to him.

Anubis reminds us of our own mortality and that our flesh too must be eaten by the jackals and dogs- or time. Anubis reminds us that we must be ever thoughtful of our actions and thus take responsibility for them. Anubis reminds us that we are never alone in our path to the other side, whatever that other side may be, he also reminds us that although life is hard and fraught with obstacles that he walks with us in times of transition and chaos.

Although Apuat is the jackal known as the Opener of the Ways, Anubis may also perform that function in his role as Psychopomp. He is the secret keeper, knowing all the mysteries of life, death and magic. He is the dog and jackal, the divine companion and friend. He is flesh eater and devourer and thus the one to whom our flesh returns.

He is the embalmer and to me is the loving hands of death, the dedicated hands of the ceremonialist and strong protector and guide to those who die in flesh.


Anubis- The Egyptian Tarot- Lo Scarabeo

Anubis- The Egyptian Tarot- Lo Scarabeo

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One thought on “Who is Anubis?

  1. Wow what a wonderful lesson on a really marvelous deity. He should be honored. Thank you for such an informative piece.

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