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Anubis is the god of death, mummification, and the protector of tombs. He is depicted with a jackal head, jet-black skin, a flail, and sometimes the Imiut fetish.

Anubis was born from Osiris and Nephthys, the god of death and resurrection and the goddess of the dead. His portrayal as a jackal most likely comes from the jackals who roamed cemeteries in ancient Egypt, digging up and eating bodies that had recently been buried in shallow graves.

The Egyptians believed that when a person died, they went to meet Anubis in Duat (the underworld), where their hearts were placed on a scale and weighed against a feather. Those whose hearts were heavier than the feather were eaten by a demon; those whose hearts were lighter than the feather were worthy of continuing on to a heavenly ascent into Aaru. Anubis became their guide on their journey to that ascent.

Anubis had a wife named Anput, and together they had a daughter called Kebechet, who was the goddess of purification. Kebechet was thought to help her father as he kept watch over the embalming and mummification process of the dead. Once placed in the tombs, Anubis was thought to protect and watch over the dead’s physical body from thieves and bandits.

Be sure to look at our lesson plans on the Egyptian myths!

Anubis Facts


Osiris and Nephthys

Domain / Power

Mummification, death, and tombs

Symbols / Attributes

  • jackal head
  • flail
  • Imiut fetish

Notable Myths

  • Guardian of the Scales
  • Creation of Embalming
  • Adoption by Isis

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