Anubis is a god that oversees the dead in Egyptian myths. He takes the form of a jackal. The jackal is an animal that looks like a dog with an elongated snout. He holds a distinguished septre in his hand. This is common among Egyptian gods and royalty. In some carvings, he is depicted as a jackal that sits beside the goddess Isis. The symbol of Anubis is an ox hide with blood on it. The hide hangs down from a pole. The meaning of this symbol is unknown. Perhaps the symbol emits a sense of foreboding or represents death.
Anubis was the god of the dead. He watched over the dead and protected them in their tombs. As a jackal he represented a threat that was posed by the creature. The jackals would wonder sites of the deceased and defile the bodies. Tombs became more intricate to prevent the jackals from entering.
Anubis is said to greet the dead as they cross over. He guides lost souls to the field of celestial beings. This field is a form of paradise for the dead. Before the dead souls could pass into paradise their actions had to be judged. He would oversee their judgment by Maat. Anubis monitored the scales to determine if the conclusions were just. He would record the decisions of Maat regarding the deceased.
He later became representative of the embalming process through his act of preserving Osiris. From this act he also performed the opening of the mouth ceremony, that was considered necessary to eat and survive in the afterlife.
Anubis was the son of Nephthys. Nephthys tricked Osiris into sleeping with her to give birth to a son. Osiris rose in popularity and began to take Anubis’ place as the god of the underworld. Osiris, as Anubis’ father, would oversee this world. This left Anubis to be the god of mummification and protection for dead souls. His image was put on the lid of a sarcophagus to protect the mummified body inside. He would guard the mummy and act as their way to finding a path to the afterlife.