The Cynical Optimist : Lost mythology


Anubis is the Greek name for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology. , Anubis was considered more the gatekeeper and ruler of the underworld, the “Guardian of the veil” (of death). Consequently, he was said to protect souls as they journeyed there, and thus be the patron of lost souls (and consequently orphans).

Anubis was frequently depicted as escorting the spirit of the deceased into the presence of Osiris in the underworld. Subsequently, the god is often shown weighing the heart of the deceased against the feather of truth (Ma’at) in the presence of Thoth (as scribe, writing down the recordings) and Osiris (as judge).

If the heart is lighter than the feather of truth, Anubis will guide the deceased through the afterlife, but if their heart is heavy – Anubis brings them to another deity which destroys the soul.

Anubis was sometimes associated with Sirius in the heavens, and Cerberus in Hades. Cerberus – as in “Cerberus vents” as seen on Kelvin Inman’s blast door map in season 2 of Lost. I’m guessing the Smoke Monster is the deity which destroys the heavy hearts and unworthy souls on the island.

It’s easy to imagine a scenario where upon ancient Egyptians discovered the island and after witnessing the strange abilities and properties of the island, thought it to actually be the afterlife – so they erected a statue of Anubis, which later became Lost’s mythic “Four-Toed Statue.”

Why four toes? Well, if Anubis was portrayed as half-Jackal, he might not have human feet – he would actually have paws with fewer digits than a human foot. What else does this tell us? Well, quite a lot actually. Lets take a look at some Egyptian art, shall we?

One of the most obvious tie-ins revealed here are the hieroglyphics, which we’ve seen in the Swan Station. Various symbols were also etched on the walls surrounding “The Temple” where the Smoke Monster grabbed Montand. Speaking of The Temple, could it be a pyramid or burial chamber of some kind where people are resurrected in the afterlife?

Anyway, the hieroglyphics were also seen on the door inside Ben’s house which led to that secret chamber where he seemingly “called” the Smoke Monster to do his bidding.

The most important tie-in? Take a look at the eyes of the people depicted in each picture – what do they share in common? Egyptians were known for their love of makeup, most notably their use of eyeliner. Guess who else loves eyeliner? Richard Alpert.

Taking into account that Alpert seems ageless himself, is dark complected and has those dark, stunning eyes – I think it’s safe to say that Richard Alpert is an original inhabitant of the island, an ancient Egyptian warrior that could also be a part of the unseen group of fire arrow-slingers.

Following the merging of the Ennead and Ogdoad belief systems, as a result of the identification of Atum with Ra, and their compatibility, Anubis became a lesser god in the underworld, giving way to the more popular Osiris during the Middle Kingdom. However, Anubis was given a place in the family of gods as the…son of Osiris and Nephthys, and in this role he helped Isis mummify his dead father.

There’s a lot to digest there, and I’m not even saying it all relates to Lost – but it is interesting to note the idea of putting dead fathers to rest, being as there are plenty of characters on Lost with daddy issues – not to mention the most notorious Undead Father of all time, Christian Shephard.

Also, the idea of becoming a lesser god may factor in to what happened to the statue – was it torn down by a rivaling religious group? Did the Egyptians tear it down in preparation for a statue of Osiris? It’s hard to say – I’m sure we’ll have more answers about the statue’s origins as this season goes forward, but by only showing the back of this statue for 3 seconds… a whole world of possibility and prediction has been opened.

Thanks to Wikipedia and the Get Lost Podcast


Stacy left a great comment pointing out that the statue actually resembles Egyptian Goddess Taweret, protector of Pregnant Women. Early during the Old Kingdom, the Egyptians came to see female hippopotamuses as less aggressive than the males, and began to view their aggression only as one of protecting their young and being good mothers, particularly since it is the males that are territorially aggressive. Consequently, Taweret became seen, very early in Egyptian history, as a deity of protection in pregnancy and childbirth. Pregnant women wore amulets with her name or likeness to protect their pregnancies.

In the Book of the Dead Taweret was seen as a goddess who guided the dead into the afterlife. As with her double nature of protector and guardian, she was also a guard to the mountains of the west where the deceased entered the land of the dead. Many of the deities relating to birth also appear in the underworld to help with the rebirth of the souls into their life after death.

Stacy, I believe, has nailed it. We all know the mysteries surrounding child birth on the island and perhaps this statue was erected in hopes of making conception and birth possible on the island. I can’t wait to find out more!