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Oh My (Death) God!

As we've seen in our classes, the ancient Egyptians used to worship multiple Gods or Goddesses. They had Gods for matters such as love, marriage, war, and many more. However, I will focus on just one god (since there's just too many to go through all anyway!) who was known as Anubis who was the God of the Underworld or the protector of the dead.

You may ask, why specifically Anubis? I chose Anubis as I found it very fascinating and questioned why the ancient Egyptians would choose to depict their God of the Dead, the one to protect the dead, as having a jackal head. Frankly, if I were to be reawakened in an afterlife, seeing a creature that had a human body and a jackal head would not exactly be ideal. In fact, in modern times, that very image can be seen or used as a terrifying image as seen in movies such as "The Mummy Returns" or the recent movie "The Pyramid".

An Anubis Warrior depicted in the movie, "The Mummy Returns"

However, it was said that the choice of the jackal was due to the common sightings of jackals in cemeteries where they would dig up burials and eat the dead bodies. Hence, to them, it only felt natural to associate a semi-jackal God to protect the dead from the jackals. In this instance, it could be said that the ancient Egyptian's association of their God of Death with an animal seems rather practical in the reasoning. Who better to protect the dead than the animal that spends quite a bit of time with the dead bodies themselves?

In addition to protecting the dead, Anubis was also associated with the process of mummification. He would received the mummy into the tomb and perform the Opening of Mouth ceremony, where the mummy was brought back to life. Priests were also said to have worn Anubis Masks during mummification process!

Another responsibility of Anubis was the judgement of the dead as Anubis would perform the Weighing of Heart ceremony. The heart would be placed at the left scale and it would be weighed against the weight of a feather. If the it weighed as light as the feather, it would be deemed that the deceased has done a lot of good deeds and would be able to move on to heaven. If the heart weighed more than the feather, then the deceased would be deemed as having committed a lot of sins and the deceased's heart would be devoured by the demon, Ammit.

The Egyptian's god, Anubis, as we can see, is an interesting one. Depicted as having a jackal head, Anubis acts as a guardian for the dead and at the same time, the judge for the dead. I guess we can link these to modern religions where God can often be viewed as both a guardian who protects his people and at the same time, be the judge of his people. I guess, as an ending to this post, we could possibly say that essentially religion hasn't changed much in its concept apart from the number of Gods/Deities for some religion?