In Kemeticism, we have many Gods, but one of our more famous is that of Anup (or Anubis, in the Greco-Roman). Anup is often misunderstood as the Egyptian “God of the Dead,” but this is not wholly true, though Anup does have death associations. Anup is actually the God of embalming and funerals, only one aspect of death…and does not, in fact, rule the Duat, or “Land of the Dead” (that is the job of Wesir/Osiris). While a deceased soul only meets Wesir at the very end of their journey through the Duat, it is Anup that they meet first. Anup, synchronized/merged with His counterpart, the other Jackal God Wepwawet, Who is the Opener of the Way, guides a deceased soul (the ba) from the lifeless corpse (the khat) into the Duat to begin the perilous and revelatory journey of reaching the Hall of Ma’at (where the final judgement takes place).
Wepwawet may be a more generally minor (or lesser known) Deity than Anup, but He is no less important. Besides His role as Opener of the Way, Wepwawet is the Lord of Victory, as well as the Lord of Sweet Joy. Wepwawet is a mighty force, a hunter, the jackal that attacks – savage, powerful, and battle-master. And yet, He is also a reminder of the happiness and pleasures of life, of luck and chance, of the multiplicity of opportunities and outcomes that exist whenever a decision is made. In my experience (UPG), Anup is the patient, steady calm before the storm…Wepwawet is the storm. They are two sides of the same coin, and yet not the same at all. They are the Jackal Lords.
There are many other minor Jackal Deities in Kemeticism, and all of Them can be read about on this handy website. Tonight, however, was a night dedicated solely to Anup and Wepwawet. What do I mean exactly? Well, today marks the holiday Heb Sabu, a feast day invented by my best friend Ange (ChasingAfterJackals on tumblr), who also runs the blog Black Fur, Black Wing. Ange is a devotee of Anup and Wepwawet (as might be obvious from her spiritual username!), and has been for a while now (She has served Anup actively for three years now, but encountered Him/decided she wanted to follow him 10 years ago. She also encountered Wepwawet a long time ago, but only recently realized that He also desired active service of her). Ange had been struggling for some time to come up with a calendar system that worked with her; I’ll leave it to you guys to go check out her blog and read about the full calendar idea she eventually came up with…but in short, she decided, after doing some research, that because so many feast days for both Anup and Wepwawet (and both) fall during this time of our secular year (March-May), it made the most sense for her to simply combine them into one major feast day, which she named Heb Sabu, which in the language of Kemet means literally “Festival of the Jackals.”
It just so happened that I was visiting Ange in person during this holiday, and had the pleasure of being able to celebrate with her.
For the offering, we decided to bake lembas bread (yes, like from Lord of the Rings! Mostly it’s just a fluffy homemade sweet bread), as well as buy double chocolate stout beer (chocolate being an offering that Ange has found, based on her UPG, to be desired by Anup especially). We also decided to each craft handmade sets of prayer beads to offer to the Jackals. Ange decided to make two separate ones, since she fully serves each God in her practice (separately, and as Patrons); I decided to make one bracelet of prayer beads to represent both Anup and Wepwawet (in Their syncretized form), as They aren’t necessarily main/Patron Gods of mine, though I do honor Them generally as a Kemetic. For the ritual itself, we used Per Sebek’s All Purpose Kemetic Ritual, which worked perfectly for our purposes.
First, we cleansed ourselves with salt water and adorned ourselves in ritual clothing, simple black dresses (I had packed one for this purpose, since I knew I would be celebrating the festival with her). Then we added perfume and said ritual words of cleansing. Ange started up some Ancient Egyptian meditation music. Then we began the ritual. We lit incense and candles, and said the ritual words. We offered an actual ostrich feather that Ange owns as the representation of Ma’at, as well as all the other things we had planned to offer described above. After the offerings (and reverting the food/drink ones – we reverted a little bit during the actual ritual, and reverted the rest later), we performed henu (and Ancient Egyptian form of bowing), and said personal (silent) prayers to the Jackals. Finally, we ended the ritual, performed henu once more, and “removed the foot” – ended the ritual, and “left” the shrine space (taking four steps backwards facing the shrine).
It was really, overall, an amazing experience to be able to take part in such an event with Ange. I haven’t connected this deeply with Anup and Wepwawet before, and it was honestly a huge treat. I honestly could feel both of Them circling around us, almost like metaphysical jackals in the very fibers of the air, as we prayed. It was powerful.
The following photos were taken after the ritual was over, while the incense and candles and everything were still set up: