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Showing posts from October, 2016

God of Death and Mummification: Anubis

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Lord of the Funerals Keeper of the Ways of Death God of Burial and Embalming God of Cemeteries and Mummification Anubis is known as the god of death and is one of the oldest and most popular of ancient Egyptian deities. The ancient Egyptians revered Anubis highly because they believed he had tremendous power over both their physical and spiritual selves when they died. References to Anubis are found in texts dating back to the Old Kingdom. His fame lasted until the Middle Kingdom, when his role as God of death was taken over by Osiris and Anubis became Osiris' assistant. He is the son of Nephthys and Set or Osiris. It was believed that his aunt Isis raised him, rather than his mother Nephthys, as Set might murder his wife's illegitimate son or be a horrible influence on him. Thus he grew up as a son, friend and follower of Osiris and Isis. Despite the fact that he was given to Osiris and Isis to raise, Anubis is aware of his true parentage and says that he's "differe…

Queen of Cat: Bast

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Bast Eye of Ra Goddess of Cats Goddess of Family and Homes Warrior Goddess who guarded the Pharaohs and their soft-footed pets alike, Bast is one of the most well known of the Egyptian deities; her cult, which encouraged all Egyptians to revere cats above all other creatures, was widespread and enormously influential, leading both to joyous revels and even to death penalties for those who might dare to kill a feline. She is also a moon goddess and serves as the opposite number of her sun god father, reigning over the cool, secretive silences of the night. Bast (known as "Bastet" in later times to emphasize that the "t" was to be pronounced) was one of the most popular goddesses of ancient Egypt. She is generally thought of as a cat goddess. However, she originally had the head of a lion or a desert sand-cat and it was not until the New Kingdom that she became exclusively associated with the domesticated cat. However, even then she remained true to her origins and …

Azrael: Angel of Death

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Archangel Azrael, the angel of transformation and an angel of death in various religions, means “helper of God.” Azrael helps living people navigate changes in their lives. He helps dying people make the transition from the earth to heaven, and comforts people who are grieving the death of a loved one.
Islamic tradition says that Azrael is the angel of death, although in the Qur’an, he is referred to by his role (“Malak al-Maut,” which literally means “angel of death”) rather than by his name. The Qur’an describes that the angel of death doesn’t know when it’s time for each person to die until God reveals that information to him, and at God’s command, the angel of death separates the soul from the body and returns it to God for judgment.
Azrael also serves as the angel of death in Sikhism. In Sikh scriptures written by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, God (Waheguru) sends Azrael only to people who are unfaithful and unrepentant for their sins. Azrael appears on Earth in human form and hits sinful …

Psychopomp: Greek Edition III

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Thanatos God of Death Lieutenant of Hades Chief Reaper of Souls Death beats equally at the poor man's gate and at the palaces of kings. Thanatos is the God of Peaceful Death. He is the son of Nyx and the twin brother of Hypnos. His Roman counterpart is Letus (Mors). Thanatos was called the god of peaceful death while the Keres were his antithesis as the spirits of violent death. His coming was marked by pain and grief. Thanatos was the son of the primordial gods Erebus (God of Darkness) and Nyx (the dark Goddess of Night) and the brother of the many of the dark gods of death, night, pain and other miseries of humanity. Once he was tricked by Sisyphus which was one of the reasons why the mortal was condemned to the Fields of Punishment. When Thanatos came to take Sisyphus to the Underworld, the cunning man chained up the god, and shoved him under his bed, effectively stopping death until Ares freed him. No matter what you think of death, Thanatos was a noble god who could not be br…

Psychopomp: Greek Edition II

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Hermes Guide of the Dead Messenger of the Gods God of Travelers and Thieves
Hermes is the Greek god of roads, speed, messengers, commerce, travel, thieves, merchants, athletes, and mail deliverers. His Roman counterpart is Mercury. His symbol is the Caduceus. Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia, daughter of the Titan Atlas, and was born in a cave on mount Cyllene in Arcadia. He is the fastest of the gods, and his position is as the Messenger to Zeus and all the other gods. He is also the Divine Herald, the solemn guide who knew the road to hell and would lead the souls of the dead down to the Underworld, after Thanatos (God of Death) did his job. That's why he was also called Psychopompus, a name given to him for being the guide of souls to the Underworld. Hermes is also the Greek god of Commerce and the Market, and thus the patron of traders, merchants and thieves. His distinguishing qualities were cunning, ingenuity, knowledge and creativity. His realm included Gymnastics; he wa…

Psychopomp: Greek Edition I

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Charon: The Ferryman Charon, son of Nyx, was the ferryman of Hades, who carries the souls of the newly deceased across the River Styx that divided the world of the living from the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage, usually an obolus or drachma, was sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person. The people who didn't receive a proper burial and thus had no obolus were left to wander on the shores of the river Acheron for one hundred years. That's why for the ancient Greeks it was so important to give a respectable burial to the deceased. In some places, it is require by law to properly bury the dead for protection for the citizens and honor gods especially Hades. For instance, Antigone risked her life by burying her brother, Polyneces, because he was considered a traitor and the king of Thebes forbid everyone to bury him. Plato tells us that the souls of the deceased were judged and then, according to their sins, they were taken by Charon to different areas where t…

The Guide of the Afterlife

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Psychopomps Psychopomps (from the Greek word psuchopompos, literally meaning the "guide of souls") are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to provide safe passage. Appearing frequently on funerary art, psychopomps have been depicted at different times and in different cultures.
Anubis is the jackal-headed god of ancient Egypt, who presides over the purification and mummification of the body and is well known for his role as a psychopomp. At the time of death he leads the ba (the aspect of a person that is activated in non-ordinary states, such as sleep and death) to the entrance to the underworld, where the ba undergoes its own purifying journey. After this, Anubis reunites the person’s ba with their core self (or heart) and then leads the deceased to the Hall of Maat where the scales of judgment weigh the heart against a…