This is my personal interaction and relationship with Anpu. It is not a be all, end all and is informed by historical information of His character and behavior. Anpu may not come to you and interact with you in the same way He does with me. Just as you don’t act exactly the same from friend to friend or family member to family member, the gods are individuals with personalities and have the capacity to approach you differently than someone else. This does not necessarily make me right or you right in how you experience the deity, but it also does not necessarily make either of us wrong.
I’m writing this because Anpu wants me to write. In His opinion I should write because I can, and because I could be helpful to others. And I shouldn’t waste my time on satire and other “unsavory” writing activities. Either be creative or be useful to those who search. Yeah, so I’m gonna do that because I’d rather not incur the wrath of my normally very quiet deity. I’ve done a post on meeting Anpu before but this is a little different.
Now, I’ve said before that I approached Anpu and did so probably way too early in my Kemetic path. I was excited, I was a newb, and I had new information courtesy of Per-Sabu that Anpu was really as awesome and cool and not evil as I had always hoped He would be. I’m almost certain that I genuinely said to Him “I’m gonna follow you around like a nosy, lost puppy until you tell me to stop or give me something to do.” Well He didn’t tell me to stop and He recently gave me something to do. So now I’m still a nosy puppy but I’m not as lost and confused as before.
Anpu is very quiet. It’s not that He has nothing to say, He’s just very thoughtful. He’s like the poster god for introversion. I was thinking earlier of ways to describe how His personality comes off to me and I’ve got to say it’s like having that great-grandparent. You know the one, they don’t say much and either seem like they aren’t listening at all or are very intensely paying attention. Either way, they always know exactly what is going on and who said exactly what and when. They are the type that catch everything when you think they’ve seen or heard nothing and who know your secrets before you know them. They are never surprised by anything because they were already aware of what was going on. They also never say anything without thinking it through thoroughly and they are short and to the point. Arrow to the heart, nail on the head, whatever cliché you want. Sometimes they say nothing at all, either because it’s better left unsaid, or it won’t make a difference or because it needs to be said only after someone fucks up. They speak softly, but carry a big stick, and you always get quiet and listen and do as you’re told when they talk. That’s Anpu to me.
He is usually very unassuming. Indeed, historically He was the most approachable of the gods and still is. Unfortunately His reputation has been twisted up by movies and pop culture and over focus on His funerary aspect, which, although extremely important and His primary duty, is not His only layer. Pop culture by far makes it the most difficult to find genuine and useful information on the Jackal. Since pop culture tends to love the dangerous and the dramatic, it focuses on His funerary aspect in a negative way, as well as His Roman title of Master of Curses. Obviously that was the entire focus of His role in The Mummy (1999) and its sequels, especially The Mummy Returns (2001). As one can imagine there is a lot of contrived treatment of the Jackal because He’s the “dark, edgy, scary, death god!” While He very much can be scary and He is a god of death, He’s never really struck me as dark or edgy. Moody perhaps, but He’s a very calm god and actually has a sense of humor.
Another problem is how disrespectful people can be of Anubis and those trying to follow Him. When I first went looking for information I found a lot of disgusting and insulting information. People were clearly being condescending, saying that the best way to worship Anubis is to kill someone and mummify them or even mummify them alive as well as to build pyramids. Then of course there’s a tv show, bands, and other things have Anubis in the name. Research is hard to come by if you don’t know where or how to look and sometimes it’s inaccessible even if you can find it, usually because it costs money or is so academically inclined that it’s hard to read and understand. Finding information on any aspect of Anubis that isn’t funerary is even harder.
Thankfully, Anubis is a pretty approachable deity. Although it can be frustrating at times to realize that He’s merely looking at you pointedly while you’re scrambling to figure out how to worship Him, He’s very nice over all. He does that a lot btw, looking at you, patiently waiting for you to figure out and do what you’re supposed to do. It can also be hard to hear Him when He does speak. He absolutely speaks softly and carries a big stick, that He hides behind His back for only the right situations. Remember always that He may be kind and quiet, but that doesn’t mean He can’t and won’t whoop your sorry little ass. I have never experienced an ass whoopin by Him and I’d like to keep it that way. Remember what He does for a living, and where He lives. The Duat is not rainbows and sunshine, it has serious dangers that can obliterate your soul before you get to the nice parts and Anpu LIVES there. He is a master of the between, a god of the horizon, of twilight and dawn. This is part of the reason He’s so approachable, He has his hands among us mortals a lot and deals with our pain and suffering. He is one who makes things whole, He Who Makes the Divine Body Beautiful With United Members, ie a healer.
I think that’s something to think about. Anpu, a healer, and a mage. Yep, lots of the gods are good at magic, but Anpu is actually very good at magic. He was often called on for divination and the like because He was known as a Master of Secrets. He Who is Over the Secrets is just one epithet that demonstrates this. He actually has a truck ton of epithets. They’re really cool too and I’ll likely post some of my favorite ones later. But consider that, a god so well known for presiding over Death, a healer. A patron to the lost, to orphans and widows. Consider a god who presides over all these things, He is not loud or obnoxious, nor is He aggressive and vengeful. He is most certainly capable of being any of those things, but in general He is not.
He is an epitome of “silent strength” and “quiet fortitude”. A king of being assertive without necessarily being aggressive. A teacher of when to show teeth and when to just growl. That is probably going to be my next goal, my next lesson to learn. I think He likes to teach, and likes to help, but I also think He likes making our brains work for it. He wants us to try and think of it ourselves, of stretching our minds to new thought processes and to notice and see new things or old things in a different way. This can be very hard and extremely frustrating. I know because that’s basically what I’m going through now as I try to figure out what I should do to improve my life and myself, and to be on a path to prosperity. Noticing something you’ve been blind to is hard, because you really cannot see it even if it’s in front of your face. You don’t know it’s there and you don’t know what you’re looking for, so it’s difficult to get your brain to stop passing over it like it’s a background.
One has to wonder though, when you should stop and have it pointed out for you. Sometimes it takes to long to wait for the click and the opening of your perception. I don’t know when that is yet honestly. I just know He’s standing there patient, waiting for me to figure it out and see what He sees. I think though, that He’s getting to the point where He may need to point it out to me. It’s difficult to see and think outside of your paradigm and established patterns, because you’re still thinking in your established patterns in order to get out of them. Not to mention trying to get your mind to do something new is difficult because you don’t know what new feels like. I think the Jackal understands this, and I think He understands it more than some of the other Netjer.
I have some songs that I listen to that Anpu seems to like and that remind me of Him. Perhaps you’ll see what I see when you listen to them. I think something else I ought to say about Anpu is that He doesn’t usually communicate directly by words. Oftentimes it is nudges, feelings, intuitive knowing, and of course expression. I see His eyes a lot when He’s trying to say something. They are a reddish-gold and determined. I’m not sure why they often seem that way, though they are often full of gentleness and mirth too. I think Anpu is a god of the people and that more people should talk with Him, if only to have someone to listen to you. He seems very adept at communicating with other gods as well and can share.
I hope I’ve made Anpu seem accessible and conveyed at least some of His awesomeness. He’s apparently one of the most popular Netjer, along with Bast, but it often seems that He is one of the most misunderstood and who is most often the victim of bad PR. I have to say it probably doesn’t compare with the bad PR, misunderstanding and insulting behavior and such as Set and Sekhmet (and even Hetheru and Bast to some degree) receive, but it is pretty bad. There seems to be a ton of people saying bad things about Anpu or “worshipping” Him in a condescending and poorly understood manner and that ends up putting off people who could really benefit from Him and making it difficult for current worshippers to find decent information and get taken seriously. I have hesitated to say that I worship Anpu as my primary deity because I don’t want people to automatically assume I’m a fluff or worse, run into fluffs. Either way I would rather not get insulted and attacked. No matter what though, Anpu has been a great god to work with and He has helped me in some bunches.
Songs that I play for Anpu:
Listen to the Rain
Yes they are all Evanescence songs, yes I have more than just five songs that make me think of Anpu, and yes they are not all Evanescence songs. But these are the ones that have the strongest connection, especially the last two. Those are the ones I sing for Him in shrine, though not often. For some reason I find myself disruptively emotional when I sing in shrine. That’s probably something else I’m gonna learn about eventually, either from Anpu or Aset, about handling emotions and how to use them and let them loose. I am surprisingly afraid of my own emotions, for a variety of reasons I won’t get into here.
I think I’ll write on more about Anpu’s specific associations later and probably on making an altar and prayer to Him next.