Home > Kemetic, paganism, Sacred Scavenging, shamanism, Spirituality, The Natural World, Wepwawet > The Veil of Time Obscures Her Face

The Veil of Time Obscures Her Face

Most people don’t know who Anupet is. Or if they do, they don’t know anything beyond either her being the consort of Anubis, or some sort of feminine “aspect” of him. I’ve always seen her as something more, of course. Then again, I’m a hard polytheist, so you know where my opinions lie in that department.

Anupet is an independent, living and powerful goddess. She has long remained hidden–no one knows much about her, her myths or her cultus. Everything I know about this goddess is strictly UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis). Or was. That veil is gradually being torn back. But before I thrust my head straight on through and disperse the mystery entirely, I should write down my experiences of her, what I know of her.

She first came to me a few years ago, in the form of a black dog or jackal (or some hybrid of the above–not an uncommon occurrence then or now). She had pendulous breasts, as if she had been nursing. That became my primary association with her. The archetypal nursing bitch. The Sacred Bitch. She had a definite motherly feel to her, but it was the sensation of the Feral Mother, ever watchful, sharp of tooth, cunning and quick to defend her pups. People stereotype mother goddesses often. But mothers come in all stripes, and so too do Mothers. She would nurse you one moment, and have your neck in her jaws the next, with full motherly intentions. Pure, primal, feral mother.

Earlier last year I received a pull from my Gods to take my work with animal remains one step further. I work with tooth, bone and claw and hide. But most of what I had seen were finished products, sanitized and ready for use. I had handled raw, dead animals before in previous jobs. I had aided in surgeries, as well as in euthanizations. I am familiar with death, and blood, and guts. But would I be able to dig right in, prepare a specimen myself? I would be put to the test. Around the same time I was put in contact with someone who had a coyote that had been shot due to predator control in the area. This was a rare, black coyote. Coyotes aren’t normally black. They don’t get black, except by the infusion of dog ancestry. It is from a specific gene mutation that domestic dogs carry, beta-defensin 3, which regulates melanism in dogs. Coyotes and wolves naturally do not have this mutation unless it had been introduced into their ancestral bloodline from dogs. The colors of Anupet and Anubis both–black, the color of the fertile Nile–though perhaps, could their color symbolism, and association with dogs, also have something to do with this? Or perhaps their temporal children mirror them somehow, the beta-defensin 3 a sort of divine genetic marker, painting various canids in the likeness of these Divine Dogs.

Anyway, so I get in contact with the guy, expressing interest in the raw skull for cleaning. I’ve never cleaned a skull before. It’s a female coyote. He mentions that the hide is in undesirable shape for taxidermy due to her having had mange. He shows me a photo, and I agree to take the hide and the skull (the hide would otherwise been thrown out or cut for pieces). I had the hide sent to a taxidermist, and I got the head. And I do mean the head. Meat, muscle, eyes, tongue, everything.

It was a very intimate process. I meditated hard on the photos of her corpse. This is a very similar process to the Buddhist corpse meditations that certain sects perform. When I was ready, I took out my buck knife, razor-sharp and ready to go. And I did it. I couldn’t believe myself, but I did. I sliced the muscle from her head and jaws. I reached inside her mouth and cut her tongue out. I gouged out her clouded, sightless eyes, I swizzled the brain from her foramen magnum. The whole time I prayed to Anupet with every slice. Somehow I thought the actions of the knife would be pleasing to her–the cutting, the intentional wielding. Every slice was an offering to the Sacred Bitch, and an offering to my Patron, and his Brother, her Husband. The smell of her blood was sharp and tangy on my nose. Then I had a pot prepared for boiling the remainder of the meat and gristle from her head. I sat at that pot for hours. When she was finally done, I collected her skull, two jawbones (which had come apart) and all her teeth, and placed them into a small cooler filled with peroxide. Weeks later, I removed her, and carefully glued each tooth back in. With the exception of one tiny premolar, I didn’t lose or break any teeth. Soon, her hide came back from the tannery, and putting them together, it was a sight to behold. My offering to Anupet was complete, and I even ended up naming the black coyote “Anupet” after the goddess.

When working with animal remains, especially from a Pagan and animist or shamanist (most especially this one) angle, it is absolutely imperative that you understand the importance and the reality of where your remains come from, and how they get to you. Like the modern food industry, most of the bones and other items people get are already processed, chemically treated and prepared beforehand. There is very little actual “work” involved. People claim to do a lot of “work” involving animal parts, but the real work is also in understanding and respecting that these parts once had a life, a face, blood and guts. It took me cutting directly into that face to really have that lesson hit home for me. Now I’m graduating to work onto other things, and I have Anupet really to thank for that. I can only hope she finds my offering a worthy one. In time, I hope to have the skin mounted in some way (I did not tackle handling the skin, as I do not know proper tanning techniques and would probably ruin the skin) and have the skull similarly adorned as a votive piece for her.

I hope to write more on this amazing Lady as time goes on, but right now I have a murderous headache, and must retire for now..

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  1. June 23, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Fascinating – I didn’t know anything about Anupet at all until this, so thank you.

    I totally agree about working with animal parts, of course. For me, the two came simultaneously – the insistence to work with the bones, etc., and the opportunities to learn how to actually process these things myself, with all the attendant intimacies with blood, guts, decay and death that this entails. If I worked with hides more I’d probably be learning tanning techniques by now too, but so far that’s not in the works.

  2. June 23, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Btw, something about seeing the cleaned skull atop the pelt like that is uniquely powerful, and touching.

  3. June 23, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    *nods* This is part of why I do meditations with the spirits of the remains regarding their deaths (or whatever they feel is most important for me to know). Because of a lack of time, space and other resources, I can’t do tanning and get this depth of experience. Thank you for sharing what you have done here; very awesome, in the original sense of the word.

  4. June 24, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Wonderful! Dua Anupet! I have heard her name around, but didn’t know much about her, so thank you for giving her some wider attention and publicity!

  5. June 24, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Incidentally, a variation of this entry would be great for the cyno devotional, eh? 😉

  6. June 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Between your experiences and my research, it’ll be interesting to see if Anupet gets a boost in acknowledgement. My experience with her seems to be in-line with the way she is said to be depicted at Dendera, a shadowy jackal-headed huntress wielding a pair of knives. I do love it when UPG becomes VPG.

  7. June 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    I don’t know much about her, but your summary sounds quite reasonable to me regardin the feral bitch-mother persona.
    My work with animal parts is extremly limited, but I do agree it has very constructive uses (recall what we talked about of your offering for your first hunt), so I do feel that the work you have done here is a very meaningful offering, especiallyin that you put so much time into it and involved yourself in the death of the animal through photos, muscle, tissue…the whole nine yards, in order to bring a beautiful transformation with the remains in her honor.

  8. June 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    What did you do with the tongue, eyes, and bits of flesh you wouldn’t be using yourself? How did you dispose of them? I’m curious because it seems like it would also have a ritual bent to it, and I’d like to know of some of the ways to dispose of these parts without offending the gods in question. Obviously burial is one way, but I’m curious as to what you did.

  9. August 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I give an understanding nod to you, and to your Anupet. I have a similar relation to my own Arta. I’m glad I found your blog, and I give props for cleaning the skull!

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