In the traditional stories told about Anubis
, he is a
dark and mysterious figure. It is he who guides the newly dead into the underworld to meet Ma'at. In order to pass to the Du'at, the Egyptian version of heaven, the heart of the newly deceased must be lighter than the feather that Ma'at wears upon her crown. Associated with the underworld and death, Anubis has traditionally inspired trepidation and fear.
Because of our identification with our ego identity, we humans have a natural fear of death. This fear expresses itself as a resistance to the inevitable process of change, and it is in this area that Anubis becomes the greatest teacher of the Shamanic Egyptian realm.
In his story, Anubis is born of a tryst between Osiris and Nephthys, husband and twin sister of Isis. While the son of a king he is also a bastard, and in the patriarchal world of Greece and Roman - the source of the Egyptian stories as we know them - the bastard son cannot inherit the throne. He cannot become sovereign. Yet personal sovereignty is precisely the lesson that Anubis teaches us.
Planet Earth provides us all with an experience of abandonment. Some are literally abandoned while others feel it more subtly - yet everyone at some point in life feels cast out, neglected, abandoned, lost. Traditional philosophies have spoken about the separation that each soul inevitably experiences from the divine - from
God/Goddess - as being the true source of this deep sense of alienation and loss. Those who feel the separation most keenly often experience an abandonment of self in their lives, pursuing behaviors that are self-destructive and take them even farther from a sense of connection to the larger whole.
Abandonment plays a key role in Anubis's story as well. Nephthys, realizing that she cannot take her newborn baby home with her because her husband, Set, will kill him, takes Anubis out into the desert and leaves him. Isis rescues Anubis - comes to get him and takes him home to raise him as her own. Although she treats him like her son, he is not, and he can never inherit the throne of his father, Osiris.
This is the stuff of a Shakespeare play, and if we were to stay true to form, Anubis would grow up to
be twisted and hateful, desiring revenge upon those who have done him wrong. Yet that is not what happens. Anubis becomes a guide to the newly dead - taking them into the underworld and then bringing them out into a new life. Like Persephone in the later Greek myth, it is Anubis - he who has experienced pain and loss - who knows the way through the underworld.
In this way, Anubis finds his true sovereignty. While he can never inherit the throne of his father, he can become the Shaman King, who leads each soul through the darkness of the underworld and out into a new beginning. So too, each of us who have experienced abandonment, pain and loss can
become the guide to others as they suffer through their own personal tribulations. The pain of our experience becomes our greatest teacher and the lesson we learn is who we truly are beyond our wounds. There is no doubt the baby Anubis was afraid and hurt when his mother Nephthys walked away from him. But soon Isis, Great Mother to us all, comes and scoops him up in her rainbow wings - as she holds each of us when we are facing our own dark night of the soul.
Anubis, The Shaman King is associated with the fire sign Leo. Leo is the sign of the king and
more than any astrological sign Leo needs to be seen and recognized by others. Leo natives are kind and generous with their praise because this is what they most value - being recognized by others for the gifts they bring. Yet ultimately, the best recognition comes when we are able to see ourselves fully and completely. We must matter in our own eyes, we must know our own value, we must see ourselves as kings and queens of our personal realm. In order to do this, we must release the attachment to past pain and hurts. If Anubis had held onto his hurt around the abandonment by his mother, he could never have become the shaman guide. It is only when we begin to see that it is our pain that has created us that we can see the gifts that are part of that pain. Like the mighty lion, symbol for the sign of Leo, when one's inner authority is fully embraced there is no more need for the approval of others.