I love reading and writing. I came to writing late in life and discovered a world where I feel like a fish in the water.
The blackness of the autumn night was so perfect, Brigit felt swept in a sea of wonderment.
Sitting alone on the upper floor balcony of her house and wrapped in a blanket, Brigit closed her eyes to savor the charm of living and breathing. Her plan was to spend the whole night on her rocking chair, in the cold of the night, to watch the dawn bring back the colors.
Something light dropped on her lap. She opened her eyes and saw a black invitation card. The card was embossed with the sketch of a man with a jackal's head. The invitation was personalized in her name.
“Brigit Hunt, You will travel back in time without delay to visit our god Anubis and our city.” No name and no signature.
Brigit was invited to visit Anubis. In ancient Egypt, Anubis was worshipped as the god of the afterlife and of mummification. The jackal was associated with the dead, and Anubis was revered as the god of the underworld.
Brigit went inside her house. She closed the blinds, switched off all the electronic devices, and laid down on a thick blanket on the floor. She closed her eyes and focused on her breathing. A sense of deep relaxation and calm enveloped her.
Transported back in time to the year 1900 before the common era, Brigit found herself standing in the town square of Kynopolis, the main center of the worship of Anubis. Located on an island on the Nile river, Kynopolis was branded as the Dog City.
From the corner of her eyes, she saw a dark entity approach her. The creature radiated overpowering dark energy. Brigit fled the town square toward a structure that had only three walls standing. Feeling her panic rising as the dark entity continued its approach, Brigit stood with her back against one of the walls screaming from the top of her lungs.
Two forms turned the corner of the town square walking behind the entity. Brigit screamed to draw their attention. Her screams did not deter the terrorizing specter as it continued slithering closer to her.
With clenched fists, she charged at the entity and took a swing at it, but her fist fell through it. A powerful energy hit her and made her drop to her knees doubled over in pain.
No one knows I’m here. No one will know what happened to me.
Walk With Me
Right then, a powerful voice boomed, “Move away from her and depart now.” She looked up and saw that the entity had vanished and she was alone.
She walked back to the town square. As she stood there trying to understand the reason she was invited to a town that existed so long ago, she heard rushed voices. The voices were coming from behind her. She turned around and found herself staring in the eyes of the DOG, a human with an animal head. She bowed her head in respect.
“This must be the one who was summoned,” a deep voice said. He spoke in a strange and alien language but to her great surprise, she understood what he said. The owner of the deep voice wore a headdress of a sun disk flanked by two cobras.
“Greetings, God of the afterlife and Lord of mummification,” Brigit said. “With respect Noble One, why have you summoned me here?”
“My priest summoned someone from the future to witness the destruction of Kynopolis. You must have been on his signal line. You will accompany me the whole day and inscribe in your memory all you see. When my priest allows you to return to your time, you will describe to your king and god all that you are going to see today.”
Brigit gauged the situation as too dangerous to waste time explaining to Anubis that democracy prevailed in her time and no kings or gods ruled the land.
“Anything special you would like me to focus on and report?” Brigit asked.
“We are in the middle of a civil war.”
“I’d be honored if you could tell me what happened.”
“A resident of Kynopolis ate a fish from our rival city Oxyrhynchos.”
“What kind of fish creates such an uproar?”
“It was a Medjed fish from the elephant fish species that is worshipped in the Oxyrhynchus religion. In fury, the people of Oxyrhynchos attacked dogs in revenge. This started a minor war.”
“It’s not so bad if the war is minor.”
“It is turning into a full-fledged war. The viceroy of Nubia Pinehesy is destroying Kynopolis and taking some of the survivors as his slaves.”
“Honorable Anubis, would you do me the honor of telling me how you came to be worshiped so reverently?”
“Walk with me. In the old days in the land of our beloved Egypt, hungry jackals used to excavate bodies buried in shallow desert graves to devour them.
“The Egyptians of those times believed that a person’s body had to be preserved so they could enjoy the afterlife. For them, being dug up and eaten by wild dogs was a fate worse than death. They prayed to me and presented me with offerings to spare the bodies of their loved ones. That is how I have become associated with the dead and worshipped as the god of the underworld.
“In addition to being excavated by jackals, raiders started robbing graves. One of our customs is to bury powerful people who die with their favorite valuables. My people believe that the deceased enjoy their possessions in the afterlife. But the value of the possessions in graves often attracted thieves who wanted to make their present lives more comfortable.”
To ward off would-be robbers, artisans in ancient Egypt decorated tombs with sculptures and carvings of Anubis. Priests inscribed curses into the tomb walls, invoking the jackal god and promising punishment in this life and the next to any who defiled the tombs.
Anubis continued. “With the passage of time, the god Osiris became well-known and replaced me as ruler of the dead. My role with the dead is essential because I created the mummification method, which allows mortals to continue living in the afterlife.”
“Are you alone in this work?”
“My partner Djhuty is the god of the moon and of learning, and the representative of Re, the sun god. Together we assess the hearts of the dead on the scales of justice in the underworld, judging the merit of their souls. My role is indispensable, and no one can ever replace me.
“Osiris, the god-pharaoh, is my brother and ally. My other brother Seth has a jealous and vicious nature. Seth murdered Osiris and cut his body into pieces, stuffed the pieces into a box that he sunk in the Nile River. Isis, who is the wife of Osiris, found the cut up remains and brought them to me. I rebuilt the pieces and embalmed the body, allowing Osiris to live on in the afterlife.
“Before Osiris took over, one of my roles was to usher souls into the afterlife. But now, Osiris is the king of the dead and the underworld, and my role is limited to presiding over the embalming process.”
“Why isn’t Osiris here to protect the city?” Brigit asked.
“He is busy ushering in souls into the next world.”
At dusk on that ancient day, Brigit was allowed to return to her own time and place. She had spent the day witnessing destruction and death. Before leaving, she made the priest promise never to summon her again.
Back at home, she wrote down all that she saw. Her decision was to wait for the right time to share her experience with the outside world.
“Mythic Monday: Anubis of the Afterlife”. World Book. April 2017. Retrieved https://www.worldbook.com/behind-the-headlines/Mythic-Monday- Anubis-of-the-Afterlife
© 2021 Liliane Najm