The countdown has begun! D:
Two more posts until IoaC is no longer posting. If you missed my announcement last week, click on the link. If you haven’t then two posts in a row should only be a slight surprise as I had said I’d like to post every week this month if I had the time. And would you look at that?! So far I do!
So today’s post is going to focus on the Egyptian god of the dead, Anubis.
Now you may have seen my jackal-headed friend in history books or on tv. You read that correctly, Anubis has the head of a jackal. Similar to some Hindu gods (I’m looking at you Ganesh!) Egyptian gods are often depicted as having the heads of animals. Think of Bastet, for example.
Unlike Ganesh, Anubis wasn’t “given” the head of a jackal. He is depicted as such because jackals are carrion animals, it was natural for ancient Egyptians to associate the jackal with death. While Anubis may not be responsible for who lives and who dies, he does rule over all things passed. It is Anubis who weighs the human heart to decide where the soul should go, he who punishes or rewards the good and bad, he is the god of embalming, and protector of lost souls.
Much like the scales we think of for the Libra constellation, Anubis used his scales to weigh the human heart against a feather. If the heart is lighter than the feather, the soul got to pass on to The Land of Two Fields*. If the heart is heavier than the feather, well…A monster would come and eat your heart. And you’d go poof. Out of existence. No afterlife for you!
The embalming process in ancient Egypt was ahead of its time. Not only did ancient Egyptians mummify and store organs in jars, they also added prosthesis or false teeth to make the person “complete” before heading into their afterlife. Mummification was also important as the body house the soul, or the ka and ba. That’s not two souls you’re reading about there, it’s two halves of one soul. It was believed that when a person died, so long as their name and their body remained intact (their name not having been erased from the statue or sarcophagus) the soul would live on and split into two pieces. (Don’t think of Voldemort like I just did! This was a good thing!) One piece, the ba, watched over the family, and the other, the ka, enjoyed the afterlife. If the body was destroyed, or the name erased then the soul was doomed.
As protector of lost souls, this meant Anubis was also the protector of orphans. While I haven’t found anything to elaborate on this, I believe that means living orphans. Anubis is the god of the dead, and from what I know and have read, he seems to be a fair god. This makes sense considering he watches out for those who don’t have families to depend on. I think that’s sweet for the god of the dead. 🙂
Alright, that’s about all I got for ma boi.
I will see you all next week!
Thanks for reading,
*I came across several different names for the Egyptian afterlife. If you know of a more concrete or well-known one, please comment below. There’s a lot of (mis)information out there.