11.21.2008

The Protector: Reverence for Your Inner Jackal

Anubis on a shrine from the tomb of Tutankhamun, 18th Dynasty, wood

While searching for the perfect dog image, I uncovered this beautiful recumbent jackal, an Egyptian sculpture of the god Anubis. I immediately felt drawn to this funerary symbol, and I knew it was due to Marshall Rosenberg's book Non-Violent Communication and my weekly meetings with an NVC practice group.

In Marshall's world, jackal language is life-alienating communication. We all have those moments of yipping and snapping like a jackal when things get a little stressful such as inserting some tone into an e-mail. My first reaction to discovering my inner jackal was like muzzling a doberman pinscher. However, the eloquence of this Anubis sculpture prompted me to learn everything I could about jackals and their value as scavengers. I found myself in complete awe of this animal's tenacity and resourcefulness.  Like the Egyptians, I wanted to use like to heal like, for Anubis, jackal-headed god of the afterlife, was tasked with protecting tombs from scavengers such as jackals.

The Protector, Beth Hemmila, fine silver

Finding kinship with jackals inspired me to create this charm called The Protector. Its assuredness and calm remind me that underneath a jackal's urge to snap and yip is a deeper yearning to remain connected to what I find most alive in myself. The language of jackals is a primal warning system, and by keeping this talisman close I am reminded to honor my innate desire for self-preservation.

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