Anubis: Exploring the Egyptian Funerary God

Anubis is one of the most well known deities in the Ancient Egyptian pantheon. He is portrayed in many works of Ancient Egyptian art, particularly on the walls of tombs. This gives us a clue as to his role in Egyptian beliefs as Anubis was a funerary God, who oversaw the mummification process and safe passage to the afterlife. He was also present at the weighing of the heart ceremony, along with Osiris and Thoth.


The common name Anubis is actually the title given to the God by the Greeks. He was known to the Ancient Egyptians as Anpu (Inpu) which itself derived from the words meaning royal child and to decay, further highlighting his association with death, but also showing his links to royalty.

Name in Hieroglyphics


Anubis had many epithets, including:

Foremost of Westerners

Lord of the Mummy Wrappings

He Who is in the Place of Embalming

Counter of Hearts

chief of the Necropolis

Master of Secrets

The Dog Who Swallows Millions


Anubis is most commonly shown as a human body with the head of a canine. It is most commonly believed to be a jackal but some say it could be a combination of a dog, jackal, fox and wolf. His head is most commonly shown to be black. Anubis is sometimes shown with a tail on his human body and is sometimes shown wearingnoeopard skin. He is sometimes shown holding a staff and ankh but most often, he is depicted performing a mummification, opening of the mouth ceremony or undertaking his role in the weighing of the heart.

It is not unusual to see Anubis depicted in full animal form. In this form, he is shown as a black jackal (or other canine) lying down. His legs are in front of him and his ears point upwards. This depiction is commonly seen as statues on shrines.

The use of black to depict Anubis had two symbolic meanings: it reflected both the colour of the corpse undergoing mummification and also the black, fertile soil of the Nile that brought regeneration and new life. The Jackal represented Anubis, probably because of their scavenging nature and the Egyptians observed them lurking around burial sites. They then saw these animals as protectors of the dead.


Anubis has some interesting mythology, which I have tried to summarise below:

Nepthys was the sister of Isis and Osiris. She was also the sister and consort of Set. Nephtys desired a child but Set would not honour her wishes. In desperation, she disguised herself as her sister, Isis and seduced Osiris (who was husband to Isis). Together, they conceived a child, Anubis. Nephtys feared that Set would discover the affair and the resulting child so abandoned him in the wilderness shortly after his birth.However, Isis found out about both the affair and the child. She found Anubis and raised him, offering him love and protection for she knew of his innocence in the situation. Thus began Isis’ link to protection, love and motherhood. It is said that Set also found out about the affair and that this further persuaded him to murder his brother.

After the murder of Osiris, Isis searched the land for his body, collecting the pieces that Set had scattered. It was Anubis who pieced Osiris back together and embalmed them, thus creating thenfurst mummy and the process of mummification.Set then tried to attack and destroy the mummified body by transforming into a wild cat. However, Anubis fought it off with a hit it on rod that left black spots all over its body (thus giving the leopard it’s slots).

Anubis then flayed the leopards body, wearing the skin as a warning to those who tried to destroy the dead. This sealed his role as guide and protector of the dead. This is why the chief embalmer would wear leopard skin, along with an Anubis mask, during the mummification process. Anubis also played a key role in helping Horus to defeat Set, offering advice, assistance and protection.


Ancient Egyptians believed that they would be judged by Osiris upon their death. Anubis was be, dived to protect them as they made their journey to this judgement n the afterlife. It was believed that he would protect the souls and guide them to ensure that their hearts were not heavy.

Preservation of the body was important for reaching the afterlife, hence the need for mummification. Anubis was the patron of the emalmers and it was believed that he would oversee the whole process and ensure that the body was properly preserved and prepared for its journeyman the afterlife. Emalmers would invoke his presence and assistance during the mummification process.

Anubis was also invoked during the burial ceremony for the dead. Here, he was asked to provide protection and guidance for the soul of the dead person. His assistance was also sought during the opening of the , out ceremony, which would allow a person to eat, drink and speak in the afterlife.

Anubis provided people with hope: worshipping him would ensure protection, guidance and continued life in the next world.

Throughout the day (sunrise, midday sun and sunset), priests performed rituals in temples dedicated to Anubis. These would involve cleansing and dressing his statue, offering food and drink, burning incense and chanting prayers and hymns. At night, the statue in would be undressed, painted with oil and redressed before placed inside a cabinet, almost like getting him ready for bed. It was believed that the God would consume the essence if the food offerings and therefore, after rituals the physical offerings would be shared among the priests to consume.

Ordinary Egyptians believed in keeping a good relationship with Anubis through daily prayers and offerings, seeking his blessings for protection, guidance and a safe passage to the afterlife. They may have displayed his statue, image or items representing him in their homes. Theyveouldchave participated in festivals dedicated to Anubis but unfortunately, the details of such festivals are hard to come by and most have been lost to time.

Links to Other Deities

Osiris - God of the underworld and father of Anubis. Anubis embalmed him, creating the first mummy.

Nephthys - Goddess of Mourning and Mother of Anubis. She abandoned him in the wilderness, reading that Set would mirder him.

Isis - Goddess of love, protection and motherhood. She is technically the aunt of Anubis but could also be considered his stepmother due to her marriage to Osiris. Isis protected Anubis and brought him up in the wilderness.

Set - God of the desert and chaos. uncle to Anubis. Anubis defeated him when he tried to snatch Osiris’ mummy.

Horus - God of the sky and kingship. Anubis rotectced and guided his (half) brother as he grew up in hiding, before avenging his father.

Wepwawet - Another jackel headed Egyptian deitiy, he was a companion or guide for Anubis, helping him in protecting souls and bringing them safely to the afterlife.

Hades - Greek god of the underworld, linked with the dead and the judgement of souls.

Pluto - Roman god of the underworld, linked with the dead and the judgement of souls.

Hermes - Greek god of writing and messenger to the Gods, However, he was also the guide of souls

Hermanubis - A syncretism of Anubis and Hermes. Hermes’ qualities were combined with Anubis’ to create a deity who was popular during the Greco - Romanperiod.

Why Work with Anubis

Here are a few possible reasons for choosing to work with Anubis in your own practice:

Anubis has a strong association with death, the afterlife, and the processes of transisition and transformation. These are things that are inevitable for us all in life. Anubis can act as a guide and guardian during our spiritual journey. This makes me think very much about the Scorpio Zodiac sign and it’s ruling planet, Pluto, who happens to be a God of the underworld. This idea of embracing change is also why Anubis is shown on the Rider Waite version of the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card.

Anubis on the Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card

Some people may have ancestral ties or a deep interest in ancient Egyptian culture. Working with Anubis could be a way to honour and connect with their cultural heritage or explore the practices of their ancestors.

Anubis is often seen as a psychopomp (a guide of souls). People seeking support and guidance in moving through personal transformation, spiritual growth or who are exploring the subconscious may find working with Anubis helpful.

Anubis is also associated with protection, justice and the weighing of the heart in the judgment process. Those who need assistance in matters of justice, fairness and personal boundaries may be drawn to Anubis.

Sometimes, people feel a strong connection or calling to work with a deity. It could be through dreams, signs or a deep desire to connect with Anubis’ energy. These people may feel a sense of purpose to work with Anubis.

Anubis in Your Practice

The best way to start working with Anubis is taking time to get to know and understand him. Also read up on Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife as well as the process of , ummification and its importance. Read the Book of the dead (or extracts from it).

Create an altar or sacred space for him. An altar cloth, black and gold candles, a statue or image of him, incense and flowers. You could also add canine linked items, canopic jars, mummy models or leopard print fabric. Call him using his Egyptian name, Anpu and also by his epithets

Statue on my altar (his father Osiris behind him)

Anubis likes any offerings related to mummification: mummified figurines, and he also likes dog related objects like collars, toys, etc. A bowl of water, and incense like frankincense, myrrh and kyphi can be offered, as a wine, beer and bread. It is expected that you consume the offering at the end of a ritual as this was done by the temple priests.

Working with Anubis allows you to explore your own beliefs about death. He also encourages us to face our shadows. With his help, explore fears, past traumas, dislikes, and things that are hidden. Anubis can offer help and healing.

Anubis lives dogs. Give your time and energy to caring for dogs at a shelter or rescue in his honour. Take care of your own doggies, showing them the love and affection they deserve. Anubis is also known as “He Who Is Sacred Upon His Mountain”.Connect with him by going hill walking, performing ritual on top of a mountain or leaving offerings for him in the mountains. Honour him by wearing black.

Prayers to Anubis

O Anpu, give me life in mu heart,
And life in my tongue,
And life in my hearing,
And life in my sight,
And life in my feeling,
And life in all my body,
And life before me,
And life behind me.
Give me, I pray thee,
Life on my right hand,
And life on my left hand,
And life above me,
And life beneath me.
O Anpu, increase the life within me
And give me life to thrive within!

This prayer can be used to honour a passed loved one:

O, Anubis! Mighty Anubis!
[Name] has entered the gates to your realm,
And we ask that you deem him worthy.
His spirit is a brave one,
And his soul is an honorable one.
O, Anubis! Mighty Anubis!
As you take his measure,
And weigh his heart as he stands before you,
Know that he was loved by many,
And will be remembered by all.
Anubis, welcome [Name] and deem him worthy of entrance,
That he may walk through your realm,
And be under your protection for all eternity.
O, Anubis! Mighty Anubis!
Watch over [Name] as he bows before you.


Planet: Pluto

Element: Earth

Colour: Black, Gold

Metal: Lead

Stone: Black Onyx, Obsidian, Jet, Smoky Quartz

Animal: Jackal, Wolf, Fox, Dog, All Canines

Plants/Herbs: Rosemary, Time, Juniper Berries

Essential Oils: Frankincense, Myrrh, Cedarwood, Patchouli

Incense: Frankinces, Myrhh, Sandalwood, Kyphi

Offerings: Bread, Water, Beer, Wine, Dog related items.


Anubis Egyptian God of the Dead: 12 Ways to Work With Him

Anubis, the God of Death: Rituals, Prayers, Offerings & More!

Anubis, Egyptian God of the Dead


I’ve always liked Anubis. I don’t know much about Egyptian gods, but I like Anubis

Nice :green_heart:


Hopefully this will help you to get to know him a bit more.


I’ve always been interested in Anubis and other Gods related to death and the Underworld - thank you for this, @Cosmic_Curiosity :clap: it’s a wonderful post full of amazing information!

I’ve added it to the Egyptian Deities Master Post too!


Thank you. Gods of the underworld also fascinate me as well…I think that’s why Anubis stands about for me, as well as Osiris. They are very much linked as Anubis leads the soul to be judged by Osiris, not to mention they are also father and son. His mother Nephtys is goddess of mourning so it’s like a whole death/underworld triad.


Love this @Cosmic_Curiosity thank you so much for sharing :purple_heart::purple_heart: I always love learning more about all the deities, especially the underworld ones. :purple_heart::purple_heart:


You are welcome. Yes I agree about the draw of rhe underworld Gods. Maybe its because of their influence over what we will experiences when we step from this world in to theirs.


I can see from the comments that I’m not the only one intrigued by Anubis - there are a lot of interesting things about Him! This was a pleasure to read (made even nicer by the categories - it’s so well organized! :star_struck: )

I particularly enjoyed the section about Anubis’ links to other deities. It’s fascinating for me to see the relationships and bonds between the divine, both with other deities close to them and across pantheons.

This is a wonderful resource about the Funerary God of the Egyptian Pantheon. Thank you so much for taking the time to craft this piece and share it with the coven! :pray: :sparkles: :blush: