Foremost Defined

Who Is Yinepu?

A Few Titles…

Chief of the Divine Pavillion
Chief of the Holy Dwelling
Chief of the Necropolis
Chief of the Western Highland
Counter of Hearts
Foremost of Westerners
He Who Is before the Divine Booth
He Who Is in the Mummy Wrappings
He Who Is over the Southern Palace
He Who Is upon His Mountain
He Who Protects the Southern Palace
Lord of the Sacred Land
Opener of Roads
Opener of Ways
Prince of the Court of Justice
Prince of the Divine Court
Weigher of Righteousness

Predynastic Times

We have evidence from some of the earliest times in Kemetic religion that Yinepu was honored as the Lord of the Dead and Ruler of the Underworld. [3] He was the chief chthonic netjer of the Kemetic pantheon and He was in possession of such esteemed titles as Khenti-Amentiu, “Foremost of Westerners”, and Tepy-dju-ef, “He Who Is upon His Mountain”. [4] Khenti-Amentiu refers to Yinepu’s position presiding over the deceased in the Underworld, Duat, while the latter title of He Who Is upon His Mountain evokes the protective image of the netjer guarding the necropolis from His vantage point atop the cliffs.

The connection between Yinepu, the dead and jackals would be as natural as any other observation to the ancient peoples of the Nile. Jackals and other canines were probably often seen prowling around the tombs and necropoli and thus, their association with the deceased would have been born. Though, there is no definitive information regarding whether or not the animal totem representing Yinepu was, indeed, a jackal as there is some evidence Yinepu’s totem may have been a a wild dog.

Yinepu’s Parentage

The divine origin of Yinepu is somewhat of a mystery. Some of the earliest sources list the Mother of Yinepu as the ancient cow-goddess of fertility, Hesat, Who was Herself supplanted by HetHert. And while others claim that Bast was the Mother of Yinepu, this may have been the result from a play on words rather than actual allegory. Much like the rest of Kemetic cosmology and theogony, Yinepu’s parentage changed with the times. At one point in Kemetic history, Yinepu was considered to be the Son of Ra and Nebthet or Set and Nebthet while another source claimed Wesir and Aset-Sekhmet to be the Parents of the Jackal God. It would not be until much later in Kemetic history that Yinepu would be the fortunate result from the infidelity of Nebthet and Wesir, specifically, this particular myth is cited from only Plutarch, a Hellene visiting Kemet.[8]

Rise of the Wesirian Cult

Part of Yinepu’s duties as Khenti-Amentiu was to embalm the deceased Nisut-Bity as exemplified by Wesir, the embalmed netjer of vegetation and fertile lands. However, as the cult and mythos of Wesir rose to prominence from Men-nefer (Greek: Memphis), the fertility netjer absorbed many of Yinepu’s titles and roles as Ruler of the realm of the Dead, which Wesir maintained for the rest of Kemetic history. [3] Meanwhile, Yinepu’s duties, though having been reduced in number, did not diminish in importance or necessity. Embalmer and Presider over funerary processions of not only the Dead, but of the beloved Wesir and the Nisut-Bity, Yinepu’s roles simply became more centralized.

In addition to being the netjer credited with having created the process of embalming, specifically for Wesir, Yinepu had also been Aset’s faithful attendant in searching for pieces of Wesir Setukh had strewn about the country and protecting the divine child, Heru-sa-Aset. Most importantly, however, Yinepu acted as a guide for the Dead during the deceased’s travel from this Earthly realm, through Duat to Wesir’s Court and to the next life.

Yinepu and Duat

Yinepu is believed to not only guide the ba to the Hall of Judgement, but to announce the deceased’s arrival, list the good deeds the deceased had performed in his lifetime and commence the Weighing of the Heart. Yinepu would act on the behalf of the deceased before Wesir and the other netjeru and would announce the results of the Weighing of the Heart, which would determine the destination for the deceased’s ba: afterlife, reincarnation or consumption by Ammit, the Devourer of Souls. [5] In Kemetic theology, the heart was the seat of the psyche within which all of one’s deeds, both good and bad, could be found. Every sin contributed to a “heavy heart” and if, when it was weighed against the feather of Ma’at, the heart tipped the scales as heavier, the deceased was considered too unworthy to enter the afterlife and the ba would be fed to Ammit. So, Yinepu’s assurance of providing a fair and accurate reading was of the utmost importance.