Egyptian mythology: Anput, the goddess of the afterlife

Anput: The Egyptian Goddess of the Afterlife

Anput, also known as Anupet or Input, is a prominent goddess in Egyptian mythology associated with the afterlife. She is often depicted as a woman wearing a standard wig and a long dress, holding a scepter or a staff. Anput is considered to be a protective goddess, guarding the tombs and guiding the souls of the deceased to the realm of the dead. Her name, Anput, means "the one who opens the ways," emphasizing her role in helping individuals navigate the journey to the afterlife.

Origins, Symbols, and Role in Egyptian Mythology

Anput’s origins can be traced back to the ancient city of Heliopolis, where she was believed to have been born as the daughter of Ra, the sun god, and Mehit, the goddess of the inundation. As a result, Anput is often associated with the qualities of both light and water. Her symbol is the cobra, which represents protection and fertility. In Egyptian art, she is often depicted with a cobra on her head or as a cobra itself. Anput is also closely associated with the jackal-headed god, Anubis, as his wife or sister. Together, they play significant roles in guiding and protecting the souls of the deceased.

Anput’s role in Egyptian mythology is primarily focused on the afterlife. She is considered to be a guardian and guide for the souls of the deceased, ensuring their safe passage to the realm of the dead. It is believed that she opens the gates to the underworld and leads the souls through the perilous journey. Anput is also associated with the process of mummification, as she assists in the preservation of the body for the afterlife. As a goddess of fertility, she is also connected to rebirth and renewal, reflecting the cyclical nature of life and death in Egyptian beliefs.

Anput’s Relationship with Anubis and Osiris

Anput’s most notable relationship is with Anubis, the jackal-headed god of mummification and the afterlife. They are often depicted together, with Anput standing by Anubis’ side or sometimes as a jackal herself. This close association suggests that Anput and Anubis may have been partners or even siblings. Together, they are responsible for ensuring the safe passage of the souls and the proper mummification of the deceased. Anput’s connection to Anubis further strengthens her role as a protector and guide in the afterlife.

Anput is also connected to Osiris, the god of the dead and the ruler of the underworld. As Osiris’ sister or wife, she plays a crucial role in his mythology. It is believed that Anput helped Osiris in his journey to the afterlife, assisting him in his resurrection and subsequent rule over the dead. This connection further solidifies her importance in Egyptian beliefs surrounding the afterlife and the journey of the soul.

In conclusion, Anput, the goddess of the afterlife, holds a vital role in Egyptian mythology. As a protector and guide, she assists the souls of the deceased in their journey to the realm of the dead. Her close relationship with Anubis and Osiris highlights her significance in the afterlife and the preservation of the body for eternity. Anput’s symbolism as a cobra and her association with light and water further emphasize her role as a powerful and influential goddess in Egyptian mythology.