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Anubis is the Greek name for the Egyptian god known as Anpu, a black jackal. He is the underworld deity associated with the process of mummification, the guiding of thedead to the afterlife, and the weighing of the hearts of the deceased against the truth of Ma'at as represented by a feather. There are no heroic legends or lore associated with Anubis, and he is believed to have developed in imagery from the sight of jackals roaming around cemeteries, devouring the corpses of the dead. Throughout the long history of Egypt, as varied regional netjeru or deities succeeded one another, the origin of Anubis changed repeatedly. Some Egyptian records list him as a son of Ra and Nephthys, but in the 21st century BCE, or First Intermediate Period, he was said to be the son of the Cow-goddess Hesat or Hathor, or of the Cat-goddess Bastet or Bast.

Anubis was often known as "Lord of the Dead," but this role was eventually usurped by Osiris during the era of the Middle Kingdom, and Anubis was demoted to the role of enbalmer of the dead, his black colour being associated with the black hue of Egyptian mummies. By the 2nd century CE, the Greek historian Plutarch wrote that Anubis was the illegitimate son of Nephthys and Osiris who had been adopted by Osiris's wife Isis, the sister of Nephthys, and he was credited with having created the first mummy with Osiris's remains. Thus he became known as the patron of embalmers, and those within the vocation were known to wear a jackal mask during their ceremonies.

Anubis is generally depicted as a black jackal seated on a tall stand, or as a brown-skinned male priest with the head-mask of a black jackal. He appears on the tarot card called "The Wheel of Fortune, ascending into prominence as the snake-deity Apep descends, and he foretells the arrival of a guide or protector on life's difficult journeys. Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who practice in the North African religion of ancient Egypt or contemporary Kemetic Neo-Paganism, and who call upon the netjeru on behalf of clients, may petition Anubis for any purpose including road opening, cleansing, uncrossing, protection, healing, blessing, transition into death, spirituality, psychism, mental influence, and occultism.


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