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..
As the title says. I am currently settling myself in from a month overseas in Germany, spending time with my partner. I had been back stateside little more than a week when I had departed on a road trip, and am currently recalibrating myself. Playing catch-up is a real bitch, but I’m doing my best. I certainly have plenty to keep me busy at the moment.
I was pleased to return and find that my friend Dr. Phil has his own blog out now. Aedicula Antinoi is turning out to be a delightful read, and definitely worth taking a peek at if you’re interested in anything historic, Antinoan, polytheistic, and queer. As a genderqueer pansexual pagan transguy myself, I am quite happy at it’s existence.
Many bloggers have made comments and blog posts regarding the anniversary of 9/11. I would lend my own words into the fray, but others have already had intelligent and insightful things to add. I come from a family of government workers, soldiers and vets, so obviously this sort of thing affects me and those around me. But how it affects me largely determines my reactions, and the example that I choose to lead. In the end, regardless of any misgivings I may have about a particular thing, I am going to err on the side of reason and peace. My Divine Father is not only a war-god but a Way Opener (much like Ganesha, who’s festival in India also began on that day). We must pray for the proper pathways to be open, that of understanding and Reason. I could dedicate more time to this topic, but there is life and other matters that need attending to, and repetition and stagnation does no good by anyone.
Now that I’m settling back in, I have German to practice, essays to write, care packages to stuff, and various other devotional activities that need attending to. This blog will be getting more attention, so stay tuned!
I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately about people’s relationships to their gods. I suppose I should write a little bit about mine, partly because I feel compelled to, and maybe it might give some folk a better idea of who I am and how I function a bit. I tend to be real private when it comes to my relationships to my gods and my magic. I think a big reason for this is that I’m rather bewildered by how open people in the pagan or occult communities tend to be. To some extent, this actually isn’t a bad thing. There are some who share their experiences to live by example, teach and guide. There are a few who come to mind when I type these words. Others, I wonder if they have any time for their gods or their magic, they always seem to be so busy thirsting for attention and talking about themselves, thrusting themselves into the limelight at some pagan gathering or bookstore or event.
But enough of that tangent.
I am a son of Wepwawet.
Some of you might be wondering what this means. No, I am not affiliated with any Kemetic house, group or organization. This revelation has come about after years of searching, struggling, falling on my face, failing, succeeding, hurting and loving. If you want to sum up a whole book’s worth of history in one sentence, then there you have it. Much like a large candle flame can light smaller ones, so have I come from him, his energy (Wepwawet-mose, as said in the name I use). I live a life of filial piety, and of love. My devotions to him include volunteer work and service to others, in whatever way I can give it. I’m by far not without flaw, and perhaps that is one reason why I do these things. That and empathy, a genuine need to want to help others, as much as I can.
That and, performing services on behalf of my gods is, in my opinion, so much more meaningful than burning incense, leaving offerings, and reciting pretty words. The sacrifices I make are sacrifices of time and energy. I want to be able to be a good representation of my Father as the Way-Opener. I don’t always succeed. But I try.
This doesn’t make me any better than anyone else, and I don’t think I’m special for this. Many people have similar relationships to their gods, and perform similar roles. I think, in learning from each other and the work we do, we can better learn so we can fine-tune our skills, and be the very best people we can possibly be, both for ourselves, and as representatives of the gods we serve and love.
My Wepwawet altar, dressed in the left corner (viewer’s right) with a pine cone, candles and Amanita muscaria mushroom representations for good luck in the new year, along with holiday cards. Soon those will be taken down and the altar re-ordered a bit for the coming year.
The hide on the altar is a real black-backed jackal (ideally it should be a golden jackal, but this is the best I could find). A ostrich feather is representative of Ma’at and my moral convictions. The knife in the center is what you would call my “ritual blade”. It is a live blade–a vintage AK-47 bayonet from the Middle East, which serves not only ritual but practical uses (home self-defense and wire-cutting when combined with the sheath), should the need arise. A dog and wolf skull flank his statue. This altar also serves as a reliquary for dog and wolf remnants I’ve collected over the years (bones, teeth, fossils, fur scraps or sheds, etc.) and serves a very practical as opposed to a display or ritual-only purpose. My tiny collection of Ancient Egyptian antiquities are stored there as well. The big bottle of African honey mead is a favorite offering of his, hence it’s display in the center, on top of the current offering plate.