Anubis, the God of embalmers and his association with royal funeral rituals: Sacred texts describing rites of passage for the pharaohs

One of the most fascinating figures in Egyptian mythology is undoubtedly Anubis, the god of embalmers, whose presence is an essential part of ancient Egyptian funeral rites. A veritable sentinel of the afterlife, Anubis ensures the safety of souls in transition. In this article, we explore his crucial role and the complexity of royal funeral rituals, guided by sacred texts.


Anubis: God of the Embalmers

Mythology of Anubis

  • Origins and genealogy Anubis, son of Nephthys and Osiris, was born of a hidden union and remains one of the key elements of the Egyptian pantheon.
  • Attributes and representations Recognized by his jackal or wild dog head, Anubis symbolizes the protection and guidance of the dead.

Roles and functions of Anubis

  • Protector of embalmers Like a divine patron, Anubis watches over embalmers by conferring his blessings on them for the preservation of bodies.
  • He is also the one who escorts souls to their final judgment, ensuring safe passage to eternity.

Worship and veneration of Anubis

  • Main places of worship Temples such as Cynopolis were centers dedicated to his cult.
  • Rituals and offerings Prayers, offerings and magical rites testified to the Egyptians' fervour for Anubis, the guarantor of immortality.

Royal Funeral Rituals

The mummification process

  • Steps and techniques From embalming to the winding of strips, mummification was a scrupulous art, an essential step for survival in the afterlife.
  • Anubis symbolically supervised each stage, ensuring impeccable preparation of the body.

Burial rituals

  • Tomb preparation Tombs, designed to be eternal, were prepared with immutable care to welcome the deceased.
  • From the funeral procession to the ritual opening of the mouth, each ceremony had its place in the journey to the afterlife.

Protection and the journey to the afterlife

  • The Book of the Dead A veritable guide to the afterlife, the Book of the Dead collected essential incantations for the deceased.
  • Magical formulas and their meaning Each magical formula in the Book of the Dead was intended to provide protection and guidance for the deceased.

Sacred Texts and their Implication in Royal Rites of Passage

Pyramid Texts

  • Description and origin The oldest known writings of this kind, they were engraved to accompany royal souls.
  • Used in the funerary context** Integrated into the walls of the pyramids, these texts served to secure the king's passage to immortality.

Sarcophagus Texts

  • Evolution of ritual texts These texts were an adaptation of the Pyramid formulas, made more personal for the deceased.
  • Incantations or praises, the texts ensured the pharaoh's eternal rebirth.

The Books of the afterlife

  • The Book of Gates The sun's nocturnal journey was described, prefiguring the deceased's journey.
  • The Book of Amduat** Details of the twelve hours of the night served as a reference for the journey to the afterlife.


Anubis, the faithful guide of the dead, held a special place in ancient Egypt , both in terms of the rites he supervised and the sacred writings he inspired. The legacy and continuity of Egyptian ritual practices reaches us like a testament to the eternal quest for immortality.


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