In any culture, mythology makes for beautiful art.
No matter how far we hurdle into the future, we will always be looking to our ancient ancestors for inspiration.
Egyptian mythology is ever-present in today’s pop culture, art, and tattoo designs.
The ancient Egyptian gods and their elaborate stories are such a source of fascination for so many people.
Getting a tattoo of an Egyptian god can be because that god resonates with you, but for some, it’s just because it looks cool.
Do People Still Worship Ancient Egyptian Gods?
Egyptian mythology is often presented as “the way things used to be.”
Children learn about it in school as a kind of alternative universe.
While today most people in Egypt belong to the Muslim religion, there are devotees of the ancient Egyptian beliefs worldwide!
This religion is called Kemetism and, though not much is known about it, it emerged in the 1970’s.
Anubis – A Famous Egyptian God
If you practice Kemetism or even if you have a passing knowledge of Egyptian mythology, you’ve probably heard of Anubis.
Though Ancient Egyptian mythology is incredibly complex with many deities, Anubis is one of the main players.
You’ve likely seen Anubis’s image in pop culture without even realizing it.
Because of his popularity and what he symbolizes, Anubis is a popular choice for a tattoo.
Who is Anubis?
If you are going to get an Anubis tattoo, you should probably look into what it means first.
The art you choose may not mean anything to you, but remember- it once meant something to someone.
It’s best to pay homage to the history behind something you admire by reading about it.
It can only serve to deepen your level of appreciation.
Anubis is a deity of the final exit.
Not everyone spends a lot of time thinking about the end of life, but every culture has theories about it.
To the ancient Egyptians, the loss of life was equally as important as life.
This is because of the importance Egyptians saw in living an ordered and balanced life, and practicing honor and truth in your every day.
This principle was known as “Maat.”
Anubis presides over the underworld.
He was originally thought to be the ruler of the underworld, but in later mythologies was demoted in favor of Osiris.
Anubis then took over the administrative duties of the underworld as Osiris’s assistant.
Anubis was said to overlook embalming ceremonies.
As someone who knew the afterlife very well, he could guide the process in the right direction.
One of Anubis’s duties was to weight the heart of a person trying to enter the afterlife.
This is why, when mummifying someone, the Egyptians would remove all organs but the heart.
It was believed that a soul would travel through different trials in the underworld, which included having their heart weighed in the Hall of Truth.
The heart was weighed against “the feather of Maat,” and the ideal outcome would be for the scales to balance.
If the scales balanced, or if the heart was light, the person could enter.
If not, the person and their soul would cease to exist.
The heart is then dumped on the floor and eaten by a god with the head of a crocodile.
In Ancient Egyptian Religion, there is no hell.
But ceasing to exist was thought of as a horrible thing.
Which would you prefer, eternal damnation, or having your heart/very existence eaten by a crocodile?
What Does Anubis Look Like?
Part of Anubis’s fame and appeal is likely his appearance, it is very distinct.
Anubis has the body and appendages of a man, with the head of what most people assume is a dog.
He is generally depicted as all black, sometimes with gold markings around his eyes, similar to other Egyptian gods.
Howling at the Moon
Anubis is not in fact a dog but a jackal.
Some scientists have recently claimed that he is, in fact, a wolf, but Anubis is most commonly referred to as a jackal.
Jackals are small, wolf-like creatures almost like wild dogs.
The reason Anubis is designed after one is that jackals were notorious for digging up graves and generally wreaking havoc on grave sites.
Anubis is a sign of protection.
This is a common concept in mythology, to “fight fire with fire” or quite literally the “hair of the dog” in this case!
Anubis Tattoo Meaning
Because Anubis weighs people’s hearts in the underworld, you may get an Anubis tattoo as a reminder to live a fair and just life in the service of others and your community.
An Anubis tattoo can also be a symbol of protection.
Some people opt for an Anubis tattoo on their back as a sign that the god is “watching their back.”
You may also like Anubis as a tattoo if you work as an embalmer or have a unique relationship with the final departure.
Common Themes in Anubis Tattoos
People typically get Anubis’s head in a sort of bust design, but you may decide you like the look of his full body as depicted in Egyptian art.
There are no rules with an Anubis tattoo, though many people go for either black and grey or the traditional colors used in Egyptian paintings.
Many people go for a mix of modern and ancient with a traditional Anubis design, but a hyper-realistic portrait for the jackal’s face.
Some get an Anubis tattoo as a memorial for their deceased pets, and will replace Anubis’s face with their own pooch.
Eye of Horus & Anubis Tattoos
The Eye of Horus originates from Egypt and is a well-known symbol for royal power, protection, and good health.
Horus was an ancient god from Egypt.
Being that Horus is a sky god, it only fits that its depiction is a falcon.
Horus’ right eye, often found with a teardrop marking underneath it, was displayed on tombs because the Ancient Egyptians believed the symbol offered a safe passageway to the afterlife.
Anubis was known in Egypt as the god of mummification and the ruler of the afterlife.
This is why you will find a eye of Horus tattoo paired with Anubis tattoos.
Ankh & Anubis Tattoos
An Ankh tattoo is a famous Egyptian tattoo for both men and women.
Ankh is a symbol for eternal life and the hope for it; it can also represent the union of male and female.
Slaves were often found wearing a necklace with a wooden Ankh in hopes that after they pass on, they can live eternally.
There is no surprise that the god Anubis, ruler of the afterlife, and Ankh are seen tattooed together.
If you believe in the afterlife or are hopeful, there is something after this world; an Ankh and Anubis tattoo can be an excellent way to portray that.
Bastet & Anubis Tattoos
The Goddess Bastet’s appearance has morphed over time from a woman to a house cat.
The original sight of Bastet, daughter of the god Ra, was a woman with a lion’s head and is considered the Goddess of protection.
Throughout time, Egyptian mythology slowly changed Bastet into a half woman and half cat.
It comes as no surprise that Egyptians believe that a cat is the protector of your home, and it is common to find pictures in the hopes that Bastet would fight off evil spirits.
Bastet tattoos are popular among women, and there is no downside to having this famous lady feline embodied on your skin.
Anubis Tattoo Designs
An Anubis tattoo can be a really interesting choice, and will definitely turn some heads.
If you’re still weighing out the decision, why not take a look at our Anubis tattoo gallery?
It’s sure to give you some extra inspiration.
Anubis Tattoo Ideas
You have probably seen him, the vicious-looking dog god famously known in Egyptian Mythology.
Anubis is sort of a watchdog, watching over the souls as they travel into the afterlife.
The look of this protective canine is strong, menacing, and there is no way anyone will mess with his souls!
- Black & Grey Anubis Tattoos
Not everything striking needs to be in color.
Let Anubis the fierce protector of souls traveling to the afterlife, features do all of the talking and keep his ink black and grey.
His strong, furious illustration is enough to stop anybody in their tracks.
- Small Anubis Tattoos
Yes, an Anubis tattoo usually is depicted on a large scale, but that doesn’t mean a smaller Anubis is out of the question.
Seek an artist that can still display this ferocious god on a smaller scale without taking away from their distinctive features.
There are several different styles of an Anubis that can be portrayed perfectly on a smaller scale.
- Simple Anubis Tattoos
An Anubis tattoo is known for its intricate details, which is what makes them look so menacing.
An Anubis tattoo is widely popular, so there are various and simpler styles that have developed over time.
Why not try out a simple take on an Anubis?
- Anubis Tattoo Sleeves
An Anubis tattoo might not be large enough to scale completely down your limb, but luckily Anubis tattoos go well with other Egyptian Mythology symbols, Gods, Goddesses.
Pair up your frightening God of the afterlife with an afterlife symbol to complete your sleeve.
- Anubis Tattoo Half Sleeves
If you are not looking to commit to a complete sleeve, a half sleeve is still a perfect canvas for an Anubis tattoo.
You can add some elements from Egypt, like pyramids and the dessert, to bring the whole design together.
You also have the option of being able to cover up your tattoo easily, if that is a concern.
Anubis Tattoo Placement
An Anubis is the God of the afterlife.
His job is to protect and guide the souls that are trying to pass over, and he will stop any threat that tries to get in his way if need be.
Anubis has your back, so why not consider tattooing him on your back to portray that symbolism.
- Anubis Tattoos on Hand
If you are not afraid of showing off your ink for any occasion, then your hand is a great placement for your next tattoo.
An Anubis tattoo is a great conversation starter for those who do not know the meaning behind this ferocious canine and your hand will showcase your artwork well.
- Anubis Tattoos on Forearm
Do you want the ability to roll up your sleeves to show off your tatted skin, and the option to cover them up effortlessly?
Your forearm is the perfect spot to do just that!
Your forearm is a great home for the protective Anubis and easily visible to remind you, it has your back!
- Anubis Tattoos on Chest
An Anubis tattoo portrays many qualities.
This afterlife God is strong, confident, and protective of those he cares about most; his traveling souls.
One would be proud to have an Anubis inked on their chest.
It will make them stand tall and proud as they try to embody these alluring qualities.
- Anubis Tattoos on Calf
As you know by now, an Anubis is a dog and its features are elongated because of its sheer powerful size.
Your calf is the perfect spot to showcase the Anubis in all of its glory.
Go with a tattoo in color or stick with a simple black and grey design, either way, your tattoo is sure to stand out!
You have read a lot about the protective Anubis, the god of mummification, and willing to do anything to ensure the safe travels of his souls into the afterlife.
The ruler of the afterlife is a distinctive design that will only enhance your tattoo collection and add as a conversation piece for the next event you attend!