Mention the Egyptian Pantheon, and probably the first thing that comes into people’s minds is the image of jackal-headed Anubis who presided over the dead and in later times became the God of Mummification. Although he was quite popular with the Egyptian folks, he was never quite the main focal point in Egyptian Mythology, besides the story in which he embalmed Osiris‘s dead body, thus receiving the title of “Lord of the Mummy Wrapping“.
That did not stop people through the ages to dedicate songs, writings, stories, and in modern times even tattoos. Our focus today is to find out why people would consider getting an Anubis Tattoo, and what that might look like.
Anubis Tattoo Meaning
According to the Egyptian Mythos, Anubis is considered to have been one of the oldest gods of Egypt, who most likely developed from the earlier (and much older) Jackal God Wepwawet with whom he is often confused.
The name “Anubis” is the Greek form of the Egyptian Anpu which meant “to decay” signifying his early association with death. Anubis also held many titles such as: “Lord of the Sacred Land” signifying the place where the necropolises were located; “The Dog Who Swallows Millions” pointing to his role as a God of Death; “Master of Secrets” since he knew what lay after death.
Just as his titles inform us, Anubis was the focal point in a person’s death, from the embalmer who took care of the dead body to preserve it, to the Psychopomp leading you to the final journey, and finally to the Judge who presided over the final trial, in which the fate of the deceased soul would be decided.
The trial consisted of weighing the heart of the person against a Ma’at (represented as an ostrich feather) which represented the concepts of harmony, balance, morality, order, law, justice, and truth. If the heart was heavier than the feather, then the deceased soul would be eaten by Ammit, and souls lighter than a feather would ascend to a heavenly existence.
In early Egyptian History, Anubis was considered the sole Lord of Death, but with the rise of Osiris‘s popularity, the myths got interconnected, and in the new change, Anubis was considered to have been the son of Osiris and Nephthys.
In the Osiris myth, Anubis helped Isis to embalm Osiris, due to Osiris being killed by his brother Set. Anubis hunted and chained Set, but Set kept escaping. The cycle would end up repeating over and over, until Anubis finally killed Set, thus ending the chase between the two.
It is said that the best way to stop fearing death, is to embrace the thought that one day we will all perish and that no one makes it out alive off of this planet. What better daily reminder than an Anubis Tattoo which is a perfect memento?
I’ve met at some point a person which over the years had close encounters with death, but each time managed to evade it by a close thread. Coincidently, that person had an Anubis tattoo, and when asked what it represented for him, he said that it’s a close reminder that Death can knock at any time and that life is too short to not eat that extra cupcake.
Even if Anubis does not appear in many myths, he was still very popular even with the Greek people, often being compared with the Messenger God, Hermes partially does the same role of guiding the souls of the departed to their last journey.
Anubis gained huge popularity in Egypt because he gave people hope that their bodies upon death would be respected and not mistreated and that their souls would be protected and fairly judged.
So whether an Anubis tattoo would have a deep meaning for you, or you’re simply a fan of Egyptian Mythology, we urge you to inform yourself from lore, stories, and different sources what it would mean to have such a tattoo on your body, and in the end to try and create a unique piece that will fit your taste.
Anubis Tattoo Ideas
History tells us that Anubis had the body of a man, but the head and tail of a black jackal. The color black does not come from the fact that jackals were black, but because black symbolizes the decay of the body and the color of the soil brought forth in spring by the River Nile, also known in folklore as “The Gift of the Nile“.
One of the most popular representations of Anubis is that of him holding a gold scale while a heart of the soul is being weighed against Ma’at‘s white truth feather. Early depictions of Anubis show him in a Black Jackal form.
If you have your knowledge set in stone, and if you’ve decided to go forth with an Anubis tattoo, then you only need to decide upon a style of tattooing. What say you about a Dotwork tattoo of Anubis? What about a black and white Anubis tattoo and having some rich and vibrant shadows to accompany your tattoo?
Maybe you’re more of a traditional style fan, and you’ve got the perfect image in mind. Maybe you prefer to add a dash of color to your tattoo, thus giving it more depth to it. Or maybe you prefer for example a more colorful style and would head towards a watercolor tattoo, or you prefer to delve further into a 3D tattoo?
Well, whatever style you would prefer, we always encourage our readers to discuss things further with their tattoo artist, and ask for their opinion, because experience and knowledge with tattoos can help guide you on the right path to choosing the best option for your next tattoo, and save you the hassle with time and money further down the road.
Anubis Tattoo Design
If you enjoyed these ANUBIS Tattoos then Click on the links below for more amazing galleries of different gods and their mythology.