|Aliases||Judge of the Dead, Hound of the Dead|
|Alignment||2E: Lawful Good
3E/5E: Lawful Neutral
|Portfolio||Guardian of the dead gods, judgement, death, Furries|
|Domains||3E: Law, Magic, Repose
5E: Death, Grave, Order
|Home Plane||Astral Plane|
|Worshippers||Embalmer, guardians, monks, necromancers|
Anubis, everyone's favorite doggo-headed god, is the Egyptian and some times Greek and Roman god of death, mummification, embalming, the afterlife, cemeteries, tombs, and the Underworld. Depicted as a protector of graves, Anubis was also an embalmer. Later he was replaced by Osiris in his role as lord of the underworld. One of his prominent roles was as a god who ushered souls into the afterlife. He attended the weighing scale during the weighing, in which it was determined whether a soul would be allowed to enter the realm of the dead.
Depicted as a canine or a man with a canine head. The head was believed to be the African Golden Jackal, but some nerds did some DNA analysis and found the Jackal species is a wolf, so wolf would be more appropriate.
Like many ancient Egyptian deities, Anubis assumed different roles in various contexts and also mixed in with nearby religions.
Anubis was depicted in black, a color that symbolized regeneration, life, the soil of the Nile River, and the discoloration of the corpse after embalming. Anubis is associated with his brother Wepwawet, another Egyptian god portrayed with a dog's head or in canine form, but with grey or white fur. Nerds assume that the two figures were eventually combined.
Anubis is one of the most well-known of the Egyptian gods, and is extremely popular with the Furry fandom. He is so well known that many people, when they hear the word "jackal" think of Anubis instead of any of the real animals called jackals, which the popular depiction of Anubis does not look like. This popular depiction has him look like a humanoid canine with short black fur and long thin pointy ears and often with gold markings on his body or lots of gold jewelry because black and gold go very well together. The real animal species called jackals are not black and look pretty similar to wolves and coyotes. If you search for art of jackals on a furry website, nearly all of the results will look like Anubis rather than actual jackals. This same effect is also seen in media, as you will rarely see a jackal based creature that actually looks like a jackal, for example the Khenra race. Though this is also partly because of people just not being familiar with jackals and too lazy to look them up, as you will see in the artwork of the Jackalwere, which don't look like jackals or Anubis.
Anubis' female counterpart is Anput. His daughter is the serpent goddess Kebechet.
Historical Rites and Rituals
In contrast to real wolves which are opportunistic scavengers, Anubis was a protector of graves and cemeteries. Most ancient tombs had prayers to Anubis carved on them. There was also the name of a different canine funerary god, alluded to his protecting function because the dead were usually buried on the west bank of the Nile. Anubis took other names in connection with his funerary role, such as tpy-ḏw.f "He who is upon his mountain"; keeping guard over tombs from above, and nb-t3-ḏsr "Lord of the sacred land", which designates him as a god of the desert necropolis.
Embalmer and Psychopomp
As jmy-wt "He who is in the place of embalming", Anubis was associated with mummification. He was also called ḫnty zḥ-nṯr "He who presides over the god's booth", in which "booth" could refer either to the place where embalming was carried out or the pharaoh's burial chamber.
The Opening of the Mouth ceremony involved a symbolic animation of a statue or mummy by magically opening its mouth so that it could breathe and speak. This ritual was performed by a priest wearing a wooden Anubis mask. There is evidence of this ritual from the Old Kingdom to the Roman Period. Special tools were used to perform the ceremony, such as a ritual adze, an arm shaped ritual censer, a spooned blade known as a peseshkaf, a serpent-head blade, and a variety of other amulets. A calf's leg was also held up to the lips painted on the coffin.
The ancient Egyptians believed that in order for a person's soul to survive in the afterlife it would need to have food and water. The opening of the mouth ritual was thus performed so that the person who died could eat and drink again in the afterlife.
The ceremony involved up to 75 "episodes" and, in its most complete version, and you can google these.
In one of the many Osiris myths (Jumilhac papyrus) where Anubis protected the body of Osiris from Set. Set attempted to attack the body of Osiris by transforming himself into a leopard. Anubis stopped and subdued Set, however, and he branded Set's skin with a hot iron rod. Anubis then flayed Set and wore his skin as a warning against evil-doers who would desecrate the tombs of the dead. Priests who attended to the dead wore leopard skin in order to commemorate Anubis' victory over Set. The legend of Anubis branding the hide of Set in leopard form was used to explain how the leopard got its spots.
In the Osiris myth, Anubis helped Isis to embalm Osiris. It was said that after Osiris had been killed by Set, Osiris's organs were given to Anubis as a gift. With this connection, Anubis became the patron god of embalmers; during the rites of mummification, illustrations from the Book of the Dead often show a wolf-mask-wearing priest supporting the upright mummy.
Later Anubis was often depicted as guiding individuals across the threshold from the world of the living to the afterlife. Hathor was also found in this role, Anubis was more commonly depicted. Greek writers from the Roman period of Egyptian history designated that role as that of "psychopomp", originally a Greek term meaning "guide of souls" that they used to refer to their own god Hermes, who also played that role in Greek religion. Funerary art from that period represents Anubis guiding either men or women dressed in Greek clothes into the presence of Osiris, who by then had long replaced Anubis as ruler of the underworld.
Weighing of the heart The "weighing of the heart," from the book of the dead. Anubis is portrayed as both guiding the deceased forward and manipulating the scales, under the scrutiny of the ibis-headed Thoth with Ammit and Ma'at present.
One of the roles of Anubis was as the "Guardian of the Scales." The critical scene depicting the weighing of the heart, in the Book of the Dead, shows Anubis performing a measurement that determined whether the person was worthy of entering the realm of the dead (the underworld, known as Duat). By weighing the heart of a deceased person against Ma'at), who was often represented as an ostrich feather, Anubis dictated the fate of souls. Souls heavier than a feather would be nomed by Ammit, and souls lighter than a feather would ascend to the afterlife of Osiris.
In Planescape, Anubis is no longer a god, but something else. As his portfolio was being taken by Osiris, he went ponder his fate in the Astral Plane, and either at the behest of other gods or of his own volition, became the guardian of the dead gods bodies. He roams the Astral Plane and has book where he writes the current condition of the corpses. Despite this, his remaining worshippers still gain their powers from somewhere, as Anubis doesn't grant them spells anymore.
|Domains||Death, Evil, Repose|
In Ravenloft, Anubis is known as the god of mummification, worshipped by the people of Har'Akir and werejackals. Clerics of Anubis who have proven themselves are granted the gift of lycanthrophy, and can dominate other werejackals.
Basically, he's largely like all the other Historical Fantasy deities in Ravenloft and largely shoved in there because Har'Akir is part of the Fantasy Egypt cluster of the Demiplane of Dread. He is different to his Planescape counterpart in that he a) is closer to his mythological self instead of pulling duty as the gravekeeper of deities on the Astral Plane, and b) he's outright evil, because of course any Death-related god in Ravenloft is going to be evil.
As a Historical Fantasy deity, Anubis survived the transition from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition intact, unlike the various Ravenloft deities who were lifted from settings like the Forgotten Realms, who had to be replaced with new, license-free equivalents.
|The Deities & Religions of Ravenloft|
|Good||Brigantia - Ezra (Pure Hearts)
The Overseer - Ra
|Andral - Belenus
Diancecht - Osiris
|Neutral||Divinity of Mankind
Manannan mac Lir
Ezra (Home Faith) - Yutow
Ezra (Erudites) - Hala
The Ancestral Choir
|Lugh - Mytteri|
|Evil||Anubis - Ezra (Zealots)
Math Mathonwy - The Lawgiver
Set - Zhakata
The Eternal Order
|Cat Lord - Erlin |
Kali - Morrigan
The Spider Queen
The Wolf God
Anubis has a presence in the Midgard setting, where he is discussed in the Midgard World Book.
|Golden Ankh, Golden Scythe, Vulture, 3 Human Skulls, Human Skull with Ankh painted around eye sockets|
|Aliases||God of the Underworld, Judge of the Dead and Guardian of Tombs, Guide of the People of Khem, Purifier of Souls, Preserver of the Worthy, King of Jackals, Patron of the Gnolls and Ghouls|
|Pantheon||Southlands (Nuria Natal, Dabu)|
|Portfolio||Death, Preservation of the Dead, Burial Places, the Sanctity of the Grave, Burial|
|Domains||Death, Justice, Travel|
|Worshippers||Morticians, the Elderly, the Sick, Gnolls, Ghouls|
|Favoured Weapon||Flail and Sickle|
Anu-Akma is a god of the Southlands region in the Midgard setting, and is fleshed out in the Southlands splatbook for 5th edition and Pathfinder. A god of death who appears as a tall, muscular jackal-headed human man with flesh that looks like the starry night sky, it is openly admitted that nobody in Midgard is really sure what the deal is between him and Anubis - almost everyone takes it for granted that one has to be the mask of the other, but nobody knows which is the original. Anyone who suggests that maybe they are actually entirely separate deities is obviously nuts, because seriously, how the hell could they that similar?! His undead worshippers often depict him as a heavily robed mummy whose face is shrouded in complete darkness and whose arms are held wide in a gesture of welcome.
Other reputed masks of Anu-Akma include the Northerner god Hel, Hades of the Seven Cities, and Charun. He has also been associated with dark gods such as Vardesain and Mot, and was once worshiped as Akma-Apophis.
Amongst the living, Anu-Akma is worshiped as the guardian of the sick and old, and the guide of souls to the underworld. His shrines often serve as hospices for the elderly, tending to them and ensuring they are spiritually fortified for their death. Ghouls worship him as a twisted provider god, who ensures a constant supply of corpse-flesh for them to eat. Gnolls worship him similarly to the other living races, but also regard him as their divine patriarch and consort to their patron goddess Bastet - which is noted as an odd relationship, considering that Anu-Akma exhorts the faithful to work hard and gnolls are notoriously lazy. Gnoll worshippers often set themselves up as guardians and guides to vast ossuaries and mortuaries, protecting them from desecration by necromancers, grave robbers and other scavengers.
Anu-Akma's creed is simple:
- Respect the ghosts and spirits of the ancestors, and their resting places. Rob no tomb. You are the purifier of life and a custodian of death, so prepare those around you for their inevitable journey and destination. Remind even the youngest that time is short. Be strict and efficient in your work; laziness serves no one, least of all yourself. Destroy anyone who blasphemes against the paradise of the underworld.