Apr 23, 2012
The Ultimate Recycler
There was an episode of Thorn Coyle’s Elemental Castings a while back, where she interviewed someone who spoke of psychopomps and who specifically mentioned jackals. I wish I could remember the exact episode and the guest. The conversation, of course, was in relation to the Egyptian god Anubis (Anpu) who was a god of the underworld. As the popularity of Osirus as underworld god rose, Anubis was later relegated to transition work such as embalming/mummification and overseeing the weighing of the heart against the feather of Ma’at. The guiding of human souls to the scales of Ma’at was attributed to both him and his brother Wepwawet.
Thorn’s guest said something about jackals which has stuck with me since I heard the episode that day. She said that jackals eat that which no other animal can find use in. Long after the carnivores have finished their meals, the jackal, with its fantastical digestive system, can consume and process decay and turn it into energy.
As someone who had for most of their life felt damaged, this was a profound moment. The thought that something out there could take the most broken, ruined parts of me and turn them into something useful was astonishing.
I could blame religion or a sensitive disposition or a brutally critical parent for my belief that I was wrong in some way and all those things have a seed of truth in them, but at some point the belief became mine and I nurtured it. I understood as I grew older, that I wasn’t really broken. I wasn’t damaged in some un-repairable way. But it takes a while to loose a root that deep. It was a fortunate day, almost two years ago, when he showed up and started digging.
He first appeared as a rather large presence standing behind me in meditation. There was a considerable sense of protection. His calm demeanor and substance were comforting. I was immediately enamoured.
Since then, I’ve had lessons on death and transition and rebirth. Lessons on repurposing that which seems unusable. Lessons on letting go. I understand now that I am not broken.
Those parts of me that I let decay are now being reborn, and those that I will not use again are being recycled into something new.
Hail the jackal - the ultimate recycler!