My Life as a Dog

I have often spoken of my father, who was an intellectual and a mental magician, as an inspiration, but it is my maternal (Anglo) grandfather GRANDFATHER, the fastidious and wonderful house painter, whose energy world is happiest functioning in the flowing robes, magnificent accoutrements, and chanted Words of Power of the Golden Dawn artist.

The choice of a patron godform in Hermetics may involve other factors than simple predeliction.

There may be forces at work that do not reveal themselves to the uninitiated for many years. Perhaps we find an ancestor or other interested party assisting entry into Golden Dawn so that they can work with their child in a beautiful tradition to learn to organize their own soul in such an interesting and engaging energy world. Furthermore, no doubt the exercises that educate and enlarge the souls of the living could prove efficacious for their loved ones in the afterlife, or what is the point of the double godform of Anubis in the Rite of the Neophyte?

I have some sense that many of my readers may not have the Hermetic shorthand to grasp what is meant by the image of this WHIPPET, whereas those in Hermetics have a leg up in knowing that the godform indicated is Anubis, the Egyptian deity of mummification who serves as a psychopomp.

Ancient Egyptians originally buried their dead in the desert sands more or less as they were. Jackals have a metabolism that favors rotted meat over fresh; thus it was seen that the jackal, more than any other animal, interfered with the repose of the dead by eating them. So when the Egyptians had the wealth to improve on burial practices by the preservation of the body using natron salts (mummification), thereby depriving the jackal of sustenance, they evidently compensated the jackal by making the animal the godform of mummification in the form of the jackal-headed god Anubis.

Besides the form of the greyhound, a clue to this is the moniker Nephthys, the mother of Anubis by Osiris. When Anubis was born a monster, he was abandoned by his mother and taken in by Isis, thereby becoming socialized to protect the welfare of humanity instead of seeking its demise.

It is not a small leap of the imagination for species that eat each other to have intense imaginative worlds of each other. It was no doubt imagined that the jackal would be very attuned to all kinds of behavior of humans leading on to and associated with death and not just vice versa, and have neurological circuitry containing imagery of how humans not only die but live. When we make them our death gods, are we not working off of some incipient jackal IMAGINATION and MEMORY? Or reincarnation into some kind of post-mortal existence in jackal life? The practice of veneration of this creature as well as its shamanic overlay in shape shifting into a jackal could be considered a handy means of preparation to remember how to be after death. Thus the idea of the therianthropic jackal, normalized to have refined and clear delineations of body parts, but in reality a fey creature, an animal spiritually obsessed by his human lunch.

As we, no doubt, considered ourselves obsessed by Isis, the cow lady of life, who reared the jackal man of death.

Modern Judeo-Christians do not shapeshift except for shapeshifting into Jesus, presumably because we are pretty good at burying our dead and keeping the dogs off, and the afterlife is seen to depend far more on the spiritual resources of cities than deserts and other wild places.

The animal imagery of Hermetics and Solomonic magic is thus a quaint throwback to Ancient Egypt.

Until you get a dog. Then all bets are off.


Let’s not forget this archaic therianthropic image of Freyja.

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