[Temple of Abidos, Egypt. 19th.Dynasty 1317 B.C.]
Anubis, God of the Dead,
represented with a head of a jackal or simply as a jackal opened the road to the
other world and presided over embalming.
After a funeral, Anubis would
take the deceased by the hand and introduce him into the presence of the
sovereign judges where the soul of the deceased would be weighed.
Anubis was the Guardian of
Offerings brought to the ceremony by heirs of the deceased and he also guarded
the mummy from evil forces in the night. When the body was embalmed, a priest
wearing a jackal mask acted as Anubis's representative. Anubis also guarded the
Sacred Esoteric Mysteries.
The origin of this God lay in the
fact that jackals could be heard howling in the desert to the west of the Nile
at sunset-at the time when burials took place. Here, Anubis is shown carrying
the long was-scepter and the crook and flail, symbols of kingship.
For the Egyptians, death was
transitory and the mummification allowed the deceased to be prepared for the
trip to the underworld and immortality. The process of mummification lasted
seventy days. First, the body had ritual washings, then, most of the brain was
taken out through an opening in the nose. The rest was dissolved with aromatic
products. The heart, lungs and viscera were taken out and placed in four jars.
The heart was replaced by one of ceramic or stone. The body submerged for
seventy days in dry natron became incorruptible and finally it was washed, dried
and bandaged with fine linen at the same time that sacred formulas were chanted.
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