Of Light & Shadow: Transformation & Anubis

Of Light & Shadow: Transformation & Anubis January 2, 2019

In my first article Anubis, God of the Modern Age, I alluded to Anubis being deity of our current world. Times change, people change, and the gods adapt as well. I gave a lot of background information and history on Anubis, where he comes from, and who he is, but I think it’s important to expand on the reasons why I gave it that particular title by exploring some of his relevance in the modern era.

Anubis Grave Statue, from MaxPixel. CC0 Public Domain Image.

God of Transformation

The first thing people think of when thinking about Anubis is death. Beyond that, people may or may not know anything about him, but let’s stop there for a moment to ponder what exactly death is.

Death is a transformational process, both literally and metaphorically. Take a look at the leaves on the trees in autumn. As they change to brilliant shades of orange, red, and yellow, they slowly began to wither away and die. Eventually they turn brown and descend, falling to the ground. From there, they decompose, returning to the earth where they will provide nutrients for other growing plants and trees that will grow.

Metaphorically speaking, life is full of death. Illnesses, drama, job changes, moving, relationship complications, financial woes, unexpected tragedies, natural disasters….The list goes on and on. Moveable forces that we sometimes cannot predict or stop. Moveable forces that sometimes continue on for some time, even a lifetime. What comes of these experiences can vary. It could be something better, something that was much needed, or perhaps they’re meant to strengthen us.

The Egyptians did worship Anubis as the god of physical death itself, but shift your focus from literal to metaphorical for a moment, and you will find Anubis standing there as well, just between the shadow and the light. Death isn’t just literal. It matches the tarot card of Death, if you are familiar with the cards and their meaning. Transformation lies at the heart of what Anubis represents.

I’ve sought him time after time to lead me through particularly difficult times in my life, and during these periods, I’ve called out Anubis’ name in the dark hours of the night.

Anubis With a Mummy, photo by Menmaatre via WikiMedia. CC License 3.0

Psychopomp

Anubis is well known for being a guide for the souls of the departed, leading them through the long road through the underworld, through the Hall of Truths, and to the Field of Reeds (or sometimes known as the Field of Offerings). Worshippers of the ancient traditions of Egypt would pray to him for guidance and protection throughout their lives and as they transition into the afterlife. He was just as much the guardian of the living as of the dead.

Take a look at how many, though not all, statues and artistic representations portray him: black with gold adornments. While this is definitely aesthetically pleasing to look at, there’s a reason he’s portrayed this way. Looking at this symbolically, he stands on the liminal line between the darkness and the light, death and life. With his inner light, Anubis leads the way out of the darkness and into the light.

Tying into the aforementioned death and transformation, Anubis is a guide through the deaths we all experience throughout our lives. This doesn’t mean they won’t happen, and this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will get easier. What it does mean is that, if you ask for his assistance, it’s possible that Anubis will be there to guide you through these transformational periods of your life to support you and help you realize you are strong enough to get through this.

Calling to Anubis

If you don’t normally work with Anubis, you may be wondering where to start. I get a lot of questions from people about this. From my personal experience, it’s best to start with a clear mind, or as best as you can. Anubis can have a strong, grounding, protective energy, but he can also be subtle and rather quiet at times. There’s a reason he holds the title Master of Secrets and Mysteries!

Starting from the point of a quiet mind can help you to have a clear point of connection, and this is true for any spirit, deity, or entity. Meditate, breathe, take a walk, or simply step away from the business for a few moments…whatever works best for you.

Prayer can be a good way to connect with a deity. I pray to Anubis on a daily basis; it’s part of my daily practice. Whether or not you want to make it formal is entirely up to you. From my own experiences (and my own UPG), Anubis doesn’t expect that. In fact, I’ve had some of my best connections with him simply by speaking freely and honestly. Coming to him from a place of authenticity and sincerity can be powerful.

If you prefer, you can certainly prepare what you want to say ahead of time, whether that be formal or not. Meeting a deity for the first time can be intimidating. Write down what you would like to say ahead of time. Make it as formal or informal as you like, but be sure that it’s coming from a place of sincerity and authenticity.

Meditation can also be a powerful tool to connect with a deity. There are many types of meditation, each meant to achieve a different purpose. Meditation isn’t always attempting to empty your mind. At least not my meditation.

My most frequent form of meditation often includes taking a walk and pondering the mysteries of the universe, or something similar. It can also blend into a gray area where I am speaking to Anubis as I am walking. It’s a powerful experience, but the key thing for me is that it’s a way I can quiet my (busy) mind.

Less frequently, I will do a visualization exercise, or perhaps experience is a better word, where I encounter Anubis. I should clarify, though, that, for me at least, this tends to happen more successfully when I am not actively trying. Deities work on their own terms and in their own time.

Here is a small prayer that I included in my last article, Anubis in the Darkness of Winter, to get you started.

    “Anubis, Sovereign of Death,
     Healer and Lord of Night,
     my hand and guide me through the darkness
     your eyes that pierce the blackness.
     afraid, I walk by your side
     face my shadow
     find balance
     empower.
     I am transformed.”

Next Steps

Waiting to see if you’ll get an answer from a deity can be frustrating, but the important thing to remember is that they are beings with their own will and desires who work on their own time. However, should you get an answer from Anubis, there are some things that I’ve experienced that I can share with you. I can’t tell you what they will be, as they are highly personal, but I can tell you what they’ve been for me.

For me, synchronicities are the most common messages I get from Anubis. Synchronicities are those little moments where something happens that you can’t explain. They can be in the form of physical, tangible things that you encounter that feel special and relevant to you, your life, and/or your situation at hand.

So many gods!

These can include animals, objects, symbols, words or phrases, numbers, a tarot card, even a person – anything relevant to your life or question at hand, but seems significant or out of the ordinary – it stands out more than being just an ordinary dog, for example. Some of the go-to signs that people associate with Anubis are the ankh and canines (jackal, wolf, dog, coyote, fox).

That relevant song that pops into your head can also be meaningful. Music is a hugely important part of my life. I get songs pop into my head ALL the time, sometimes because the radio overplays it, or because it’s something that I’ve obsessed with and listened to on repeat, but sometimes it’s more than that. The songs that often mean something, for me, at least, are those that either come to me completely out of the blue or one I wake up with. Usually, when this occurs, it’s a song I haven’t heard in a long time, but its relevance is oddly fitting for the situation at hand.

Look for the messages you get in response. Build communication with Anubis. Leave offerings, which I will be talking about at a later date. Begin that communication channel. The more you do, the stronger a relationship you will build with him.

About Charlie Larson
Charlie Larson has been a practicing eclectic pagan and witch since 2001. He is a linguist, a teacher, teacher trainer, and a writer within the field of international education, and he holds a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics. He has also studied psychology and is trained by Mental Health First Aid USA. He has been a writer of poetry and fiction for most of his life and is currently working on non-fictional works under the umbrella of paganism and witchcraft. He works a lot with energy healing (including reiki), shadow work, devotional paganism, animal spirits, crystals, divination, and candle magic. He currently resides in the heart of Silicon Valley in California with his menagerie of furbabies and enjoys reading, writing, hiking, gaming, and learning languages. You can read more about the author here.

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