Recumbent Anubis, Egypt, Late Period (525-332 BCE). Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Sentinel and the Kerux are two of the lesser officers in the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn, and appear to play very different ceremonial roles from each other. The Sentinel is stationed outside of the Hall, and does not take an active part in the ceremony: their job is to guard the door. The Kerux is primarily the herald, making announcements and leading processions. At first glance the two offices appear to have little in common–but beneath the surface, they are very much connected.

The Sentinel and the Kerux are a matched set. The Z.1 document says that “The Kerux is the Herald, the Guardian and Watcher within the Temple, as Sentinel is the Watcher Without“. While their duties may be very different, they share a symmetry of function. The stations of the Sentinel and Kerux are on opposite sides of the portal or door to the Hall, and this portal is the focal point around which the two are reflected both geographically and symbolically.

On the outer side of the portal, it is the Sentinel who stands guard against the forces of darkness, and who ensures that all who enter the Hall are allowed to be present. The Sentinel prepares the candidate for their initiation, and accepts the grip or token, the grand word, and the password from each member before allowing them to enter the Hall.

On the inner side of the portal, the Kerux admits the members when they enter, watches over the reception of the candidate, makes all announcements and proclamations, and leads the Mystic Circumambulations. It is the Kerux who sees that the Hall is properly guarded, trading knocks at the door with the Sentinel, and who stands at the door while the Hiereus ensures that all present are able to give the signs of the grade. The Kerux also separates the Elements on the Altar into their four quarters during the Neophyte Ceremony, and recombines them prior to the Eucharist. When the candidate is admitted into the Hall, it is the Kerux who receives them, assisted by the Stolistes and Dadouchos.

When I say the Sentinel and the Kerux are a matched set, I am speaking literally. In the Z.1 document, we see that both officers are in fact godforms of Anubis. This is the only instance in which a god is shared between two offices and corresponds to both. “The Kerux is the principal form of Anubis,” it states, “as the Sentinel is the subsidiary form” (Regardie, The Golden Dawn, p. 341). The Coptic names of the two godforms of Anubis shed some further light. The Sentinel is ⲁⲛⲟⲩⲡ ⲙ̄-ⲡ-ⲉⲙⲛ̄ⲧ (Anoup m-p-Emnt), “Anubis of the West”, as the Kerux is ⲁⲛⲟⲩⲡ ⲙ̄-ⲡ-ⲉⲓⲉⲃⲧ (Anoup m-p-Eiebt), “Anubis of the East”. The two are thus geographically reflected across the portal of the Hall: the Sentinel on the outer or Western side of the door, the Kerux on the inner or Eastern side. The fact that the portal of the Hall is the fulcrum across which these two godforms operate in concert with each other highlights the liminal function of Anubis within the Neophyte Ceremony.

There is also a further shading of Anubis in both offices. Just as the Trinity within Christianity is composed of three hypostases, God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so too can other gods have hypostases through which they manifest while still maintaining a single underlying ousia or essence of being. While this is a more recent addition to the tradition, the Ciceros have posited that Anubis of the West is Ophois, or Wepwawet to use the Egyptian name rather than the Greek (Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition, p. 15). Although originally a separate god, Wepwawet was also associated with Anubis and subsumed into him. Originally both a funerary god and a god of war, and sometimes depicted as a soldier, this hypostasis of Anubis is especially appropriate for the Sentinel who stands as “the Watcher against the Evil Ones” (Regardie, p. 334) and who wields a sword to keep both physical and spiritual intruders at bay. The name of Wepwawet means “Opener of the Ways” or “Opener of the Roads”, and this is also fitting, as the Sentinel is the one who stands guard at the closed door and determines when it may be opened to those who approach.

No such hypostasis has been defined in the existing Golden Dawn literature for the form of Anubis corresponding to the office of the Kerux, as far as I am aware, but to me the connection couldn’t be clearer. In the same way that the Sentinel embodies Ophois, the Kerux wears the persona of Hermanubis. It is Hermanubis who wields the Caduceus, the staff of Hermes. He also makes all announcements in the Hall, as the messenger of the gods. And it is Hermanubis who is specifically the Psychopompos, the conductor of souls to the underworld. Similarly, it is the Kerux who admits the candidate into the Hall, and who leads them in procession to the paths of the East and the West where they are challenged by the Hierophant and Hiereus as the guardians of those stations. The Kerux also separates the Elements on the Altar, symbolic of the bodily organs of the deceased which are separated into canopic jars and watched over by Anubis. Of the Kerux, the Z.1 document states, “He is the Guardian of the Inner side of the Portal–the sleepless Watcher of the Gods and the Preparer of the Pathway to Divine Wisdom. ‘Watcher for the Gods’ is the name of the Kerux, and he is Anoo-Oobist, the Herald before them” (Regardie, p. 341).

The Mystic Circumambulations which the Kerux leads are symbolic of the Sun and the rise of Light, but they are simultaneously representative of a descent into the underworld of Amenti or the Duat, the abode of the Hall of Judgement where the Neophyte Ceremony symbolically takes place. The Sun which shines in the Hall is a reflected Sun, dimmed by the Veil and represented in the person of the Hierophant as Osiris. This is the Sun which shines at midnight. To quote Apuleius on the Mysteries of Isis, “I reached the very gates of death and, treading Proserpine’s threshold, yet passed through all the elements and returned. I have seen the sun at midnight shining brightly. I have entered the presence of the gods below and the presence of the gods above, and I have paid due reverence before them.” The Mystic Circumambulation which first leads the candidate around the Hall represents their journey in the underworld searching for the hidden knowledge, with Hermanubis leading the way wielding the Lamp and Caduceus. We can once more look to Apuleius, who provides us with an evocative description of Hermanubis leading the procession of Isis: “”Immediately after these came the Deities, condescending to walk upon human feet, the foremost among them rearing terrifically on high his dog’s head and neck–that messenger between heaven and hell displaying alternately a face black as night, and golden as the day; in his left the caduceus, in his right waving aloft the green palm branch” (quoted in Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, vol. 2, p. 266).

Returning to the Sentinel, we can say that this hypostasis of Anubis also claims the epithet tpy-ḏw.f, “He who is upon his mountain”. This is the necropolis in the West over which Anubis stands guard, watching the tombs and protecting them from thieves and other intruders. This is a stationary and static form of Anubis, in contrast with Hermanubis who is typified by dynamism and movement in the underworld descent.

Thus the Sentinel and the Kerux are two halves of Anubis, reflected across the portal of the Neophyte Hall. They both partake of his symbolism, expressing it at rest in the case of the Sentinel, and in motion in the case of the Kerux. The two officers complement each other by design, even though on the surface it appears that they have little connection.