Anpu, Inpu, Ienpw, Imeut, He who is in the place of embalming, Lord of the sacred land
Deity: Osiris, Horus
Symbol: The flail
Family & Other Connections
Anubis is most often said to be the son of Nephthys and either Ra or Set, although some stories give either Heset or Bast as his mother or Osiris as his father. He has a daughter, Kabachet.
Information & Stories
Anubis was a very ancient Egyptian god whose name appears in some of the oldest texts, and who was the original god of the dead. When Osiris took over this position Anubis became known as a son of Osiris and the conductor of souls. Anubis’ job was to conduct the souls of the newly deceased through the underworld, testing them and placing their heart on the scales of justice to be weighed against an ostrich feather. If the heart was heavier than the feather, the soul was judged to be too wicked to enter the underworld and Anubis fed it to Ammut.
When Osiris was killed, it was Anubis’ job to embalm and wrap the body, creating the first mummy. Anubis became known as the god who watched over the embalming and mummification process. He is guardian and protector of the dead, as well as a guide, and is called ‘lord of the sacred land’, referring to the city of the dead.
Anubis is the patron of lost souls, including orphans, and the patron of funeral rites.
Anubis was often depicted as a jackal or with a jackal’s head, and the association with this animal may have come about as jackals would likely have been seen at the edges of the desert and roaming near cemeteries and the necropolis. He is coloured black however, which is not a jackal’s colouring but instead likely related to death, rotting bodies and the underworld. It is also the colour of the rich Nile silt that fertilised the land and connects Anubis with the afterlife and rebirth.
Anubis was worshipped throughout Egypt, but the centre of his cult was in Cynopolis, or Upper Egypt.