Of Light & Shadow: Beginning Emotional Healing with Anubis

Of Light & Shadow: Beginning Emotional Healing with Anubis April 24, 2019

I don’t often get such detailed visions during meditations, but one encounter would impact my own healing journey for the rest of my lifetime. I’ll briefly describe it, paraphrased in places.

“What is it that you want from me?” I asked Anubis, standing before me during the meditation to meet him. The room we were in was dark, save enough light to see the god of the dead in front of me, but I was neither cold nor afraid. The darkness was almost comforting.

Anubis did not answer, but I immediately knew that I was to follow him. He led me down a dark corridor, the floors and walls covered in stone the color of wet sand. Lights from torches were placed along the corridor to guide the way. Anubis walked silently next to me; though he did not speak, I was comforted and felt safe and protected.

Journeying deep inside, photo by Ines Riegler via Creative Commons.

We continued walking until we reached a door. The door had a rounded top and was made of wood with iron hinges and latch.

“Open it,” Anubis said, stopping in front of the door and turning to me. “This is the door to your inner self, the deepest parts of your mind.”

Hesitantly, I opened the door. Inside was a garden. It was dark, illuminated by some kind of silver-white light, almost like moonlight. It was a bit overgrown, trees and plants guarding a center area that sat on a small hill.

With a slight touch to a leaf, the overgrown plants and trees were retracted, revealing the hill. On the hill sat a small boy, sitting crouched with his arms wrapped around his knees.

I looked to Anubis for answers and guidance.

“This is you, or at least part of you, lost during the years of trauma and abuse you endured as a child.” He further instructed me to walk up to the child, kneel beside him, and wrap my arms around him.

Without another word, I knew instantly that this is what Anubis wanted me to do: heal. The Great Shaman was here to show me the way to heal.

This was just the beginning of what has been a lifelong journey so far of working to be a better version of myself, to face my shadow and accept it as a part of who I am. To heal from the wounds and the traumas I’ve faced over the years.

Anubis, photo by catbagan via Creative Commons.

Anubis has been with me since I started down this pagan journey nearly 17 years ago. He is the god of the dead, death, the afterlife, the underworld, protection, mediums and diviners, health and healing (particularly emotional, mental, and spiritual), shamanic practices, judgement of the souls of the dead, and guide of the lost.

He has many names and titles. Transliterated into the Latin alphabet, the Egyptians would have called him Anpu or Inpu (or even Inpw), but when the Greeks began coming into Egypt, they called him ‘Anoubis’, which is where we get the name Anubis. He is one of the oldest gods in the Egyptian pantheon, predating even Osiris and his siblings (Isis, Nephthys, and Set). He is the son of Ra and perhaps Hesat (or perhaps Hathor).

Anubis is the god of death and rebirth, but not just in the literal sense. Everyone goes through these cycles throughout their lifetime – where something old that no longer serves you falls away, leaving something newer (and often better, though perhaps not at first) in the wake. This cycle of chaos, or “death” and “rebirth” in other terms, are two things Anubis guides through; he assists in guiding people through these times and navigating them.

As a shaman, healer, and guide of the lost, he guides people to find pieces of themselves that are lost or need healing. It often means that there is some emotional or mental wound or trauma that needs to be dealt with in order to heal and move on. He also assists those who deal with abandonment issues and “lost souls”.

There have been entire articles and books written on healing, but I wanted to take moment to talk about the process of healing from emotional pains and traumas, as I’ve had to go through this process myself many times. Giving yourself the opportunity to heal can be an incredibly painful process. Reaching within yourself to bring up old emotional wounds can feel just as gut-wrenching as it did when you first felt them. Repressing them, though it may be easy in the short term, does you no good in the long run.

Giving yourself the opportunity to heal can be incredibly painful. Photo by Davi Ozolin via Creative Commons.

I can tell you from personal experience that they will return to rear their ugly heads, oftentimes more powerful than the time before. It can affect your own happiness and well-being and even negatively impact the relationships around you. It can hold you back and keep you feeling as if there is always this perpetual weight on your shoulders.

Taking time to feel them, let them come to the surface, is a solid first step towards healing. To really deal with them, you need to understand what it is that you’re feeling in the first place. Sometimes we get these feelings and emotions that surface and may not connect them with any particular instance or event in your life. That’s certainly ok, but it’s important to at least have some understanding of where the feeling comes from. What emotion is this? Does it spur any memories? Where were you and what were you doing when they came up?

From there, you can begin the process of acknowledging it and releasing it. This doesn’t mean that the pain is gone, nor does it mean that it will be forgotten. The goal really is about finding within yourself the opportunity to stand in front of your pain, acknowledge its existence, and say to yourself “this does not define me. This no longer controls my life!”.

Anubis protects the souls of both the living and the dead and can be petitioned to do so during any shamanic work. He is not to be seen as an angry or vengeful deity as pop culture and media can often portray gods of the dead; however, he should not be taken lightly. Being the One who oversees the judgement of souls in the afterlife (by weighing hearts against the feather of Ma’at – the goddess of balance and truth and justice), he has a high set of morals and standards for those he works with. This means, when facing Anubis, you need to be prepared for the truth, however painful it might be. You need to be prepared to face all aspects of yourself, even the parts you may wish to hide from the world.

Find a way that you can let yourself get into a relaxed state. Sit or lay down, if that works for you. Light a candle, black if you have one, a color sacred to Anubis. Any color that you have on hand will work, though. If music helps you to get into that relaxed state, play it.

Close your eyes for a moment and take a few deep breaths. Feel that space in the center of your chest that draws in air. Mentally set your intention to begin healing work. Call to Anubis as Shamanic Healer. Here’s a short prayer that you can use or adapt to your own intentions. You can also write your own.

Anubis, Sovereign of Death,

Master Healer and Lord of Night,

Take my hand and guide me through the darkness

With your eyes that pierce the blackness.

Though afraid, I walk by your side

To face my shadow

To find balance

To empower.

 Through Death, I am transformed.

Continue to breathe. Pay attention to the things that  come up – visions, thoughts, ideas, feelings. Let them naturally come up as they would. You may even feel nothing, which is OK, too. Don’t fret if nothing happens. You don’t have to dive right in from the beginning, and not everyone operates in the same way. Sometimes, for your first journey, you may simply wish to get yourself in the mindset of beginning the journey. Stay in this state for as long as feels comfortable for you, and then slowly come back to awareness. Write down your experience. Many people find the act of writing cathartic. Did you see anything? Feel anything? Did any thoughts or ideas come up? Write down anything you wish to accomplish on this healing journey.

From there, you may wish to set up a sacred space for healing purposes, which I will discuss further in the future. Your healing sessions may be periodic or not, depending on your own personal needs. They may differ from session to session. Let them happen as needed, but don’t push yourself to feel that you have healing “deadlines” to meet. Healing has parts that are intentional, but it should also happen at a pace that fits you.

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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