The `Book of the Dead` by the ancient Egyptians talks about five hundred Gods. It is a holy text that mentions about the funerary rites using spells, prayers, chants to deliver the dead from evil through the invocation of Thoth, the Divine God. The book mentions that Gods were more powerful than demons. They usually manifested as half human and half animal symbolizing various aspects of nature like food, fertility, shelter, riches, victory and so forth. They were worshipped for protection from all evil and to bestow good. Hence, they were revered in temples of Ancient Egypt.
Anubis – Deity of the Dead
1. Anubis is an ancient Egyptian funerary deity with many alternative names. He is called Anubis in Greek, anpu, anapa, yinepu in Egyptian meaning a child of Royalty.
2. He is seen with the head of a black dog or a jackal adorned with a golden necklace. He holds the Phoenix Wand or the holy scepter. The scepter stands for a soul`s rebirth and eternal life. He is seen accompanying Isis in the form of a black dog.
3. According to the sacred Egyptian holy text, Unas, Anubis is called the Lord of the Underworld. It also mentions that he is the divine eye of Horus who helped in finding the different body parts of Osiris by taking a form of a black jackal. He was the son of Nephthys and Osiris.
4. Anubis is the guardian of the Necropolis- a place where Egyptians bury the dead. Anubis is the God who is responsible for building and protecting of tombs. He protects the dead from dogs and wolves who scavenge on the bodies of the dead by taking a divine form of a black jackal or a black dog.
5. He is the God of embalming or mummification process as he was the one who invented it. Egyptians believed that when a body is embalmed, it helps the soul in its afterlife. Anubis embalmed the body of Osiris till his soul was resurrected finally. The main function of Anubis is embalming the deceased. He is called Imeut, meaning the Lord in the place of embalming.
6. This process of mummification involves opening of the mouth ceremony which is done by the priest who wears the mask of Anubis. It is deeply believed that Anubis himself conducts the ceremony in the guise of a priest. He protects the embalmed body as many spells and incantations are read out along with anointment of oils. The mummy is awakened to life by Anubis himself. All the rituals done for mummification are done with this God of Protection.
7. His daughter, kebechet brings holy water to purify the dirt and filth of the deceased body and helps her father in the ritualistic process. The body is purified so that it can be reanimated through occult powers of Anubis and the holy water and kept fresh always. Through the rituals, the embalmed body becomes a vehicle to the deceased spirit to inhabit.
8. Anubis takes the deceased soul to the land of judgement where the heart is judged by the balance of scales. He is the Lord of the Dead who accompanies the soul of the dead to the nether world. He is the Lord who judges the soul in the Hall of Neophyte, according to their acts during their worldly sojourn.
9. He passes the judgement of whether a soul can go to heaven or hell or be destroyed. If the soul has been negative then it would be made to be restless endlessly or thrown to the beast called Ammut. If the soul has been good then he will take the soul to Duat or the realm of celestial beings.
10. Thoth records the punishment given to a deceased soul and judgement is taken by weighing the heart in a balance of scales held by Anubis.