Wepwawet FAQ

Wepwawet FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Wepwawet

1) Who is Wepwawet?

Wepwawet (Upwawet, Upuaut; Greek: Ophois) can also be spelled Wepawet or Upauat.

Wepwawet is the ancient Egyptian God.  He is a guide to the living and the dead, a warrior armed with a mace and a bow, and a standing Jackal on his standard with the Uraeus and shedshed.

He is a scout, a guard, a guide and a warrior.  He is a god of strength, a guide for travelers, a protector of Kings, a protector of cemeteries, a protector of Wesir (Osiris) and a son of Aset (Isis).  He leads the way in war, ritual processions and the path of  the sun’s journey and the path of the soul through the Underworld.

2) Are Wepwawet and Yinepu the same God?

I’d say no.  Wepwawet is depicted mostly as a standing jackal/canine on a standard in most of his iconography, while Yinepu is more likely to be depicted as a Jackal-headed man or as a recumbent jackal.  While Wepwawet can be depicted as a jackal-headed man, this image used for him is more rare.  It is important to note that Wepwawet is a black jackal just like Yinepu.  The idea that Wepwawet  has a grey jackal’s head is an erroneous assumption based on some images on reliefs whose black pigment had faded to grey.

Even though both gods are attested in the pre-dynastic period, Wepwawet is the elder of  the two.  Much later in the Ptolemaic period, in the  Jumilhac Papyrus, it says, “This is Yinepu, He is the hypostasis of Wepwawet” (Vandier,  127).

Some may think that Wepwawet is  very pigeonholed in this role of “Way-Opener” and that it is vary narrowly focused.  But I would  think that Wepwawet is very versatile.  He opens the way for everything; he is everywhere.  He opens the way for cosmic events: the journey of the sun’s barque; as Orion he opens the way for the path of Sopdet since the star follows the path of  Orion;  as the opener of the road for the dead, he would open the way for the stars to appear in the night sky.

Wepwawet affects human events.  He can open the way to any path or possibility such as: the path of the soul during childbirth and the protection of soldiers  and veterans.  He can clear the path for anything.  He can find anything.  He dispels roadblocks to matters ranging from the practical to esoteric.  For practical matters he can help with job searches, obtaining employment, finding something that was lost and finding services, items, or people.  For more esoteric subjects he’s known to reveal religious mysteries, assist in some magical workings, illuminate the hidden paths or parts within the self, and lead the way to clarity during confusion or doubt.   He is the one who can reveal secrets from profound mysteries to finding your lost car keys.

As a jackal and an opener of the way, he deals with the dead.  He opens the way for the dead and guides them through the Underworld.  He’s associated with cemeteries and the desert where people were buried in ancient Egypt.

Yinepu is more focused on the dead.  Before Wesir, he was the leader of the afterlife. Yinepu is the god associated with guiding and guarding the deceased and is the patron of the Rites for the Dead and the makings of a mummy.  Yinepu is also associated with divination, protection, healing and  guiding lost souls.  Like Wepwawet, he is associated with cemeteries and the desert where people were buried.

Some Egyptologists say that since Wepwawet is a title of Yinepu that means they are the same god.  Nit also has the title Wepwawet as the “Female Wepwawet”; that doesn’t make her the same as him.  Within ancient Egyptian mythology, many gods are titles of other gods.  Seshat is a title for Aset, Hethert, Mut, Tefnut, Nit and many others; that doesn’t make her the same as them.

Wepwawet’s the Head of all Opener of the Ways, while others can also do this task it is not their main function.

Also their parentage is not the same.  Wepwawet’s parents can be Ra, Nut or Aset and Wesir.  Yinepu’s parents can be Hesat and Ra, Bast and an unknown father, Nebet Het and Ra, Nebet Het and Set, Nebet Het and Wesir (from Plutarch), and Aset and Wesir (from Late to Ptolemaic Period).

In Abydos, Wepwawet was attested as the son of Aset and Wesir from at least the New Kingdom if not earlier.  Wepwawet is the son of Aset in Asyut as well.  Yinepu is attested as the son of Wesir in Plutarch and the son of Aset and Wesir in the Ptolemaic Period Jumilhac Papyrus.   Even if they share the Aset and Wesir as parents, Wepwawet’s connection to them is an earlier one.

There is a syncretic deity Wepwawet-Yinepu attested in the Ptolemaic Period, but the fusion of two gods makes a third god.

Wepwawet and Yinepu may share similar iconography and  functions, but they have many difference within their iconography, attributes and family lineages.

Here is a wonderful page about this topic:  Anubis and Wepwawet.

Source:

Vandier, Jacques. Le Papyrus Jumilhac. Paris: Musée du Louvre. 1961.

Wepwawet-Ra’s creation myth from Tamara L. Siuda.  Personal Correspondence.  2018.

3) How is Wepwawet depicted?

He is normally depicted as a standing Jackal on a standard.  In this form he can have a Uraeus in front of Him, or a Uraeus and a curved object called a shedshed in front of Him.  He can also be depicted as a recumbent Jackal, but this rare.

Another way He can be depicted is as a human male with a black jackal’s head, sitting on a throne or standing upright.  Wepwawet can be depicted with a mace or a bow and arrows.

Although Yinepu (Anubis) and Wepwawet may share many attributes, they are not interchangeable.   If there is a depiction of a Jackal-headed man who is over a mummy or weighing the heart against the feather or a jackal laying on top of a box then that is Yinepu and NOT Wepwawet.

4) What are some myths of Wepwawet?

None about Him.  He is connected to the Wesir (Osiris) mythos as He protects Wesir and leads the Procession of the Mysteries of Wesir Festival.  He is Wesir and Aset’s son and protects the necropolis.  Wepwawet-Ra has a creation myth story that mirrors that Heliopolitan creation myth.

5) Who are His family members?

Due to different cult centers, time periods and myths, his family members changed over time.  Wepwawet’s parents can be Nut or Ra.  Wepwawet is also a son of Aset and Wesir.   Yinepu, as the son of Nebet Het (Nephthys) would be the cousin of Wepwawet.  Yinepu can also be the son of Aset (although this is from later periods),  so then they would be brothers.  They can also be brothers as sons of Ra or Wesir.

6) Can Wepwawet take other forms? What are syncretizations?

Syncretic deities are two deities that fuse or combine to form a third separate entity.

Wepwawet’s syncretisms are:

  • Wepwawet-Heru-sa-Aset (Horus son of Isis)
  • Wepwawet-Heru-sa-Wesir (Horus son of Osiris)
  • Wepwawet-Herishef
  • Wepwawet-Ra
  • Wepwawet-Wesir  (Wepwawet-Osiris)
  • Wepwawet-Yinepu

7) What are some of His titles?

  • Eldest Son, Who Travels the Sky as Orion
  • He of Asyut
  • He Who Destroys His Enemies
  • He Who Leads the Way for the Gods  and Goddesses
  • He Who Gleams with the Left Eye (Moon)
  • He Who Rises with the Right Eye (Sun)
  • He with the Pointed Arrows
  • He with Sweet Joy
  • Lord of Lords
  • Lord of the Sky
  • Lord of Strength and Power
  • Lord of the Two Cobras
  • Lord of the Two Lands
  • Lord of the West
  • Permanent One of the Primordial Time
  • Powerful One
  • Power on Earth
  • Power in Heaven
  • Son of Aset
  • Son of Wesir
  • Who came forth from Nut
  • Who Opens the Way

For a longer list of epithets, go here: Lord of Strength and Power

8) What are some great books to read about the God?

I have written a book on Wepwawet found here:  Lord of Strength and Power

I have a bibliography listed here: References.

Great Website:  Per Sabu

9) What are the symbols of Wepwawet?

His Symbols

  • Adze
  • Bow and Arrow
  • His Standard (with or without the Uraeus and Shedshed)
  • Mace
  • Shedshed
  • Sistrum/Sistra
  • Was-Scepter

Natural Forces

  • Orion
  • Sky/Heaven
  • Wind
  • Sun

Plants

  • Myrrh
  • Tamarisk Tree

Sacred Areas

  • Cemeteries
  • Pathways
  • Roads
  • Underworld
  • West

10) What offerings do you give to Wepwawet?

Short list:  beef, chicken, animal meats, chocolate, dark rum, beer and water.  See my Offerings section: Offerings

11) What are Wepwawet’s festivals?

Here is the calendar: Wepwawet Festivals

More Festivals can be found in my book:   Lord of Strength and Power

12) What are some of His major ancient Temples?

  • Temple of Asyut
  • Temple of Abydos

13) What are His sacred animals?

  • Bull
  • Dog
  • Greyhound
  • Jackal
  • Wolf

14) What do you admire about the God?

His ability to find anything.  He makes anything possible for he is the Opener of Roads and Paths of all kinds.  He’s strong and compassionate.

15) What does a shrine to Wepwawet have on it?

His shrine should be on flat surface like a table or dresser. Here are a few items to place on your shrine for Him:

• White or Black or Dark Purple shrine cloth
• an image or statue of the God
• two white, gold or dark purple candles or plain beeswax candles
• an incense holder or oil diffuser with incense or essential oil
• a white bowl for water libations

Wepwawet tends to prefer His jackal form rather than His jackal-headed man form for statuary.  Other items you may need: a pitcher to pour the water libations into the bowl and matches or a lighter to light the candles or incense. You can use electric candles and oil diffusers if you can’t use an open flame.

Also if you cannot use incense, then some alternatives might be a small cup of Florida Water or fresh flowers.

Colors

  • Black
  • Bronze
  • Dark Blue
  • Dark Purple
  • Gold
  • White

Stones

  • Hematite
  • Howlite
  • Obsidian
  • Onyx
  • Snowflake Obsidian

15) What do rituals to Wepwawet entail?

Rites for Wepwawet normally consist of a few simple actions: offering incense, lighting candles and pouring out a water libation. Also other offerings are given to the God consisting of food and drink that is later consumed by the devotees. See the Offerings page for ideas here: Offerings

15) How often are these rites performed?

The Daily Shrine Rite is ideally done every day unless one is ill or traveling or impure to perform ritual for other reasons. For some people doing a rite everyday is not feasible so they do it every week or only at certain festivals or other times such as during the different moon phases.

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