Sep 1, 2008

Anubis: The God of the Underworld

I'm one of those zillions of people in love with all things Egypt.
True, i'm crazy about Mummies, Giza, Luxor, Cleopatra, Immortalism...
But the the facet that draws me the most is their convoluted web of Gods.
Indian culture with it's mammoth pantheon of gods seems almost simple in their comparision.
Such unequivocalled power was invested in them.
Also the concept of Pharaoh. To infer godly status on somebody human and make it so damn believable deserves some credit. Some Credit.
Some magic. It's in the air of Egypt.

One can play favourites with various gods(though i strongly advise against it). Isis, Amun Ra, Horus, Osiris etc etc...
But the only god that inspires so much mystery to me (maybe apart from Ra) is Anubis.
Anciently called Ienpw and also Imeut (Lord of the place of Embalming).

He was the patron of the underworld, the path followed by the dead and most importantly of mummification. HE is one of the most ancient gods of the pantheon, wherein he ruled as the Lord of the Underworld. But Osiris took over his position and Anubis became a controller who would guide the souls to Osiris.

His totem is of the Jackal(always painted black to represent the dead). The most famous shrine to him is in the tomb of Tutankhamun in a complete jackal avatar. His totem is probably jackal as they would hunt the edges of deserts, near the necropolis and cemeteries.

As opposed to what Anubis would seem to represent, he is actually the protector, the overseer of mummification; a process extremely sacred to the Egyptians.It is said Anubis can alone preside over the actual violation of the body during mummfication and nobody else. The priest who performs the actual process wears the mask of Anubis and is said to be magically transformed into Anubis for that period of time.

Infact the whole fantasy of mummies that we see on TV and read in books is also said to be the work of Anubis. He is said to have invented the act of mummification to help Isis bring back her husband Osiris to life. The wakening of the dead is also his doing. (yeah, the mummy returns and all that)

In some stories, Anubis is the son of Ra and Nephthys, or Set and Nephthys (probably due to Set and Anubis having the same totem animal). This apparent confusion is still another sign of Anubis' origins in the most ancient of times. He also has a daughter, Kabechet, who helps him in the mummification.

As protector of the necropolis, Anubis was known as 'He Who is Upon the Mountain'. The Egyptians believed that the god would keep watch over the tombs and graves from a high vantage point in the desert, ready to rush down to protect the deceased from desecration. Images of Anubis as a seated jackal above nine prisoners were stamped on many of the seals to tombs in the Valley of the Kings. They symbolise Anubis' protection against thieves and evil doers who entered the necropolis. He protected not only the souls of the dead, but their eternal resting place, too.
Hail Anubis.


Aggie M said...

when are we going to Egpyt?
I went to the puja in college.
people had minor coronaries spotting me in salwar kameez.

Blue~Flame said...

Me wanna see you.
I promise to survive it.
I have seen worse eh? *rougish winks*
Happy GC!!!

Sharanya said...

I want to see Ag in a kameez too!! I do!! and, awesome post. I've wanted to study Egyptology since 8th, I'm considering it for my MA..

Blue~Flame said...

aww man sharan dont do this to me.
please for godsake i beg on my knees with cushions in my hands and all..

ankit said...

phew, great post there, and some pretty feminine discussion i am barging into here..

you planning to write a series on Egyptian gods? To me, this post reads like you should do that.

Blue~Flame said...

you never know, i just might *haughty sniff*

And its ok, we do like to remind people that we still have possess our feminine side..just once in a while..