The Celestial Hunter by Roberto Calasso

Rhakotis

Although Anubis the great god discovered and passed on the science of embalming the dead, there was according to Herodotus, some distrust of embalming:

Wives of notable men, and women of great beauty and reputation, are not at one given over to the embalmers, but only after they have been dead for three or four days this is done that the embalmers may not have carnal intercourse with them.
Herodotus II, 89.2

There is a lot going on in this passage, not least the tabloid aspect of necrophila. It is believed that a chief embalmer wore the mask of Anubis during the process of preparing the body. Wearing the mask, meant he acted on behalf of the god, that he became the god. The interchange between man, animal and god – and I use the term man intentionally – was never clearly demarcated.

In his polysynchrotic work, Roberto Calasso traces…

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