Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The Libra / Scorpio

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 28, 2016

The Sun is the ruling planet of Leo and is exalted in Aries

Pluto is the ruling planet of Scorpio and is possibly exalted in Leo

Uranus is the ruling planet of Aquarius and is exalted in Scorpio

Venus is the ruling planet of Taurus and Libra and is exalted in Pisces

The Moon is the ruling planet of Cancer and is exalted in Taurus

Saturn is the ruling planet of Capricorn and is exalted in Libra

Mercury is the ruling planet of Gemini and Virgo and is exalted in Virgo or Aquarius.

For some astrologers Ceres is the ruling planet of Virgo

Planets in astrology

Zodiac

Astrological sign

Horoscope

Astrology

The zodiac is a celestial coordinate system, or more specifically an ecliptic coordinate system, which takes the ecliptic as the origin of latitude, and the position of the Sun at vernal equinox as the origin of longitude. It is the circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude employed by astrology and (formerly) astronomy.

It is centered upon the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year. The paths of the Moon and visible planets also remain close to the ecliptic, within the belt of the zodiac, which extends 8-9° north or south of the ecliptic, as measured in celestial latitude. According to astrology, celestial phenomena relate to human activity on the principle of “as above, so below”, so that the signs are held to represent characteristic modes of expression.

The astrological signs are the twelve 30° sectors of the ecliptic, starting at the vernal equinox (one of the intersections of the ecliptic with the celestial equator), also known as the First Point of Aries. Because the divisions are regular, they do not correspond exactly to the boundaries of the twelve constellations after which they are named. The order of the astrological signs is Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.

Rulership is the connection between planet and correlated sign and house. Each sign is ruled by one and only one of the seven visible planets (note that in astrology, the Sun and Moon are termed The Lights, while the other bodies are called planets, which literally means wanderers, i.e. wandering stars as opposed to the fixed stars).

The traditional rulerships are as follows: Aries (Mars), Taurus (Venus), Gemini (Mercury), Cancer (Moon), Leo (Sun), Virgo (Mercury), Libra (Venus), Scorpio (Mars), Sagittarius (Jupiter), Capricorn (Saturn), Aquarius (Uranus), Pisces (Neptune).

In astrology, exaltation is one of the five essential dignities of a planet. Each of the seven traditional planets has its exaltation in one zodiac sign. The positions are: Sun: 19th degree of Aries (i.e., 18°00′ – 18°59′), Moon: 3rd degree of Taurus, Mercury: 15th degree of Virgo, Venus: 27th degree of Pisces, Mars: 28th degree of Capricorn, Jupiter: 5th degree of Cancer, and Saturn: 21st degree of Libra.

The twelve sector division of the ecliptic constitutes astrology’s primary frame of reference when considering the positions of celestial bodies, from a geocentric point of view, so that we may find, for instance, the Sun in 23° Aries (23° longitude), the Moon in 7° Scorpio (217° longitude), or Jupiter in 29° Pisces (359° longitude). Beyond the celestial bodies, other astrological points that are dependent on geographical location and time (namely, the Ascendant, the Midheaven, the Vertex and the houses’ cusps) are also referenced within this ecliptic coordinate system.

Various approaches to measuring and dividing the sky are currently used by differing systems of astrology, although the tradition of the Zodiac’s names and symbols remain consistent. Astrology measures from Equinox and Solstice points (points relating to equal, longest and shortest days of the tropical year), while Jyotiṣa or Vedic astrology measures along the equatorial plane (sidereal year).

Precession results in astrology’s zodiacal divisions not corresponding in the current era to the constellations that carry similar names, while Jyotiṣa measurements still correspond with the background constellations.

In Western and Asian astrology, the emphasis is on space, and the movement of the Sun, Moon and planets in the sky through each of the zodiac signs. In Chinese astrology, by contrast, the emphasis is on time, with the zodiac operating on cycles of years, months, and hours of the day. A common feature of all three traditions however, is the significance of the Ascendant — the zodiac sign that is rising (due to the rotation of the earth) on the eastern horizon at the moment of a person’s birth.

In astrology, a planet’s domicile (or less commonly house, not to be confused with the astrological house system) is the zodiac sign over which it has rulership. This is a separate concept from the houses of the horoscope.

A planetary ruler is given to each sign, over which the planet is said to have a more powerful influence when positioned therein. A planet is considered to be in domal dignity when it is positioned in the sign it rules. This is the strongest of the five essential dignities of a planet.

The assignments of the ruling planets appear to be based upon the Northern Hemisphere seasons, as the sun (Sol) and the moon, the principal bearers of light and heat, were awarded to Leo and Cancer, respectively, since the months the sun passed through these signs (in ancient times) were the warmest and had the longest days.

Conversely, Saturn, the most distant (and hence the “coldest”) of the planets known to ancients, was accorded the rulership of Aquarius and Capricorn, the signs opposite Leo and Cancer, respectively. Jupiter, being next farthest away, was given the signs on either side of Aquarius and Capricorn (Pisces and Sagittarius), and Mars, next in order, received the next two (Aries and Scorpio).

Since Mercury never appears more than one sign from the sun in either direction, it was deemed to rule the two signs on either side of Leo and Cancer (Virgo and Gemini), and since Venus can never be found more than two signs from the Sun, it obtained the rulership of Libra and Taurus.

The discovery of planets outside of the geocentric field of vision in modern times provided a dilemma for astrologers, which most eventually resolved by a general consensus declaring Uranus to be Aquarius’s ruling planet, while assigning Neptune to Pisces and later, Pluto was given to Scorpio.

Some modern authorities uses the concept of “night rulerships” to find room for the additional dignities. Uranus was designated the day ruler of Aquarius while Saturn was to be its night ruler. Similarly, Neptune was the day ruler of Pisces, leaving Jupiter as the night ruler, and Pluto was the day ruler of Scorpio with Mars as the night ruler.

This notion probably had its origin in the concept of astrological sect, but this was the only vestige of sect in the modern tradition. Unfortunately, no allowance was made for these modern suggestions in the complex traditional doctrine of essential dignities, but the idea was very popular.

The use of dual rulerships in a manner such as this was also be known as “co-rulership”. Some astrologers believed that the new co-rulers were primary rulers of the signs with which they were associated and might have been sole rulers of those signs, and if that was the case, two other planets, one linked to Libra or Taurus, and the other to Virgo or Gemini, may await discovery, thus eliminating the need for dual rulership of a sign altogether.

Although the status of Ceres is unknown at the moment in astrology, due to its new definition as a dwarf planet, it has been suggested as the ruler of Virgo or Taurus. For some modern astrologers it is the ruling planet of Virgo and co-ruler of the 6th house with Mercury, and for some others the ruling planet of Taurus and the 2nd house with Venus.The possibility exists that it isn’t involved with any sign, but in any event, it can almost definitely be attributed to the Earth element.

Psychologically-oriented astrologers often believe that Uranus is the ruler or co-ruler of Aquarius instead of Saturn; Neptune is the ruler or co-ruler of Pisces instead of Jupiter, and that Pluto is the ruler or co-ruler of Scorpio instead of Mars. Some astrologers believe that the planetoid Chiron may be the ruler of Virgo, while other group of modern astrologers claim that Ceres is the ruler of Taurus instead. Other astrologers, still, use the former planets Pallas, Vesta, Juno and Hygiea in their delineations and rulerships, for example Vesta to Taurus and Pallas to Virgo.

Debate continues between those who consider the newly discovered planets as rulers or co-rulers of certain signs and those that do not. Some astrologers do not even use the astrological signs at all (mostly Cosmobiologists and Uranian Astrologers/Hamburg School). Therefore, they do not take into account planetary rulerships and the essential dignities when interpreting an astrological chart.

Note that, if one starts from Leo and Cancer, the traditional planetary rulers are arrayed outward in the same order from the sun as they occur in the natural solar system. The Lights ruling Leo and Cancer, Mercury ruling Virgo and Gemini, Venus ruling Libra and Taurus, Mars ruling Scorpio and Aries, Jupiter ruling Sagittarius and Pisces, Saturn ruling Capricorn and Aquarius. The result is a symmetry of traditional rulerships across the 0° Leo/Aquarius axis. Note that modern rulerships, which attribute Pluto as ruler of Scorpio, break this symmetry.

Lord of the Constellations

An (from Sumerian An, meaning “sky, heaven”) is the earliest attested Sky Father deity. Anu existed in Sumerian cosmogony as a dome that covered the flat earth. In Sumerian, the designation “An” was used interchangeably with “the heavens” so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god An or the heavens is being denoted.

An was known as “The King of the Gods”, “Lord of the Constellations, Spirits and Demons”, and “Supreme Ruler of the Kingdom of Heaven”, where he himself wandered the highest Heavenly Regions. He was believed to have the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and to have created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the Royal Tiara.

His attendant and vizier was the god Ilabrat, who appears on the tablets of the legend of “Adapa and the food of life” which seems to explain the origin of death. Adapa, who has earned wisdom, but not eternal life, is a son of, and temple priest for Ea (Enki) in Eridu, and performs rituals with bread and water.

While Adapa is fishing in a calm sea, suddenly the South Wind rises up and overturns his boat, throwing him into the water. This reference to the ‘South Wind’ may refer to Ninlil, wife of Enlil, who was identified as goddess of the South Wind.

Adapa is enraged, and proceeds to break the ‘wings’ of the South Wind, so for seven days she can’t blow the freshness of the sea on the warm earth. Adapa is summoned before the court of Anu in the heavens, and his father Ea advises him not to eat or drink anything placed before him, because he fears that this will be the food and water of death.

Anu however, is impressed with Adapa and instead offers him the food and water of (eternal) life. However, Adapa follows the advice of Ea, and politely refuses to take any food or drink. According to the tablets, this food and water of life offered by Anu would have made Adapa and his descendants immortal.

Anu called his vizier Ilabrat messenger: Why has not the wind blowing south for seven days? Ilabrat his vizier replied: “My lord, Adapa, son of Ea, has broken the wings of the south wind.”

The Akkadians inherited An as the god of heavens from the Sumerian as Anu-, and in Akkadian cuneiform, the DINGIR character may refer either to Anum or to the Akkadian word for god, ilu-, and consequently had two phonetic values an and il. Hittite cuneiform as adapted from the Old Assyrian kept the an value but abandoned il.

The earliest texts make no reference to An’s origins. Later he is regarded as the son of Anšar and Kišar, as in the first millennium creation epic Enuma elish. In Sumerian texts of the third millennium the goddess Uraš is his consort; later this position was taken by Ki, the personification of earth, and in Akkadian texts by Antu, whose name is probably derived from his own.

An/Anu frequently receives the epithet “father of the gods,” and many deities are described as his children in one context or another. An/Anu is also the head of the Annunaki, and created the demons Lamaštu, Asag and the Sebettu. In the epic Erra and Išum, Anu gives the Sebettu to Erra as weapons with which to massacre humans when their noise becomes irritating to him.

Outside of this dome was the primordial body of water known as Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically NAMMA = ENGUR). Nammu was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat, a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the god of fresh water) to produce younger gods, in Babylonian mythology.

Nammu was the Goddess sea (Engur) that gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall.

Nammu is not well attested in Sumerian mythology. She may have been of greater importance prehistorically, before Enki took over most of her functions. According to the Neo-Sumerian mythological text Enki and Ninmah, Enki is the son of An and Nammu, the goddess who “has given birth to the great gods”. It is she who has the idea of creating mankind, and she goes to wake up Enki, who is asleep in the Apsu, so that he may set the process going.

The Atrahasis-Epos has it that Enlil requested from Nammu the creation of humans. And Nammu told him that with the help of Enki (her son) she can create humans in the image of gods. Reay Tannahill in Sex in History (1980) singled out Nammu as the “only female prime mover” in the cosmogonic myths of antiquity.

Tiamat is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation, depicted as a woman, she represents the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon. She was the “shining” personification of salt water who roared and smote in the chaos of original creation. She and Apsu filled the cosmic abyss with the primeval waters. She is “Ummu-Hubur who formed all things”.

Abzu (or Apsû) fathered upon Tiamat the elder deities Lahmu and Lahamu (masc. the “hairy”), a title given to the gatekeepers at Enki’s Abzu/E’engurra-temple in Eridu. Lahmu and Lahamu, in turn, were the parents of the ‘ends’ of the heavens (Anshar, from an = heaven, shár = horizon, end) and the earth (Kishar); Anshar and Kishar were considered to meet at the horizon, becoming, thereby, the parents of Anu (Heaven) and Ki (Earth).

It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is a creator goddess, through a “Sacred marriage” between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second “Chaoskampf” (German for “struggle against chaos”), depicting a battle of a culture hero deity with a chaos monster, often in the shape of a serpent or dragon, Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos.

The Tiamat myth is one of the earliest recorded versions of the Chaoskampf, the battle between a culture hero and a chthonic or aquatic monster, serpent or dragon. The same term has also been extended to parallel concepts in the religions of the Ancient Near East, such as the abstract conflict of ideas in the Egyptian duality of Maat and Isfet.

Chaoskampf motifs in other mythologies linked directly or indirectly to the Tiamat myth include the Hittite Illuyanka myth, and in Greek tradition Apollo’s killing of the Python as a necessary action to take over the Delphic Oracle.

The origins of the Chaoskampf myth most likely lie in the Proto-Indo-European religion whose descendants almost all feature some variation of the story of a storm god fighting a sea serpent representing the clash between the forces of order and chaos.

Early work by German academics such as Gunkel and Bousset in comparative mythology popularized translating the mythological sea serpent as a “dragon.” Indo-European examples of this mythic trope include Thor vs. Jörmungandr (Norse), Tarhunt vs. Illuyanka (Hittite), Indra vs.Vritra (Vedic), Fereydun vs. Aži Dahāka (Avestan), and Zeus vs. Typhon (Greek) among others.

In the Enûma Elish, the Babylonian epic of creation, she gives birth to the first generation of deities; her husband, Apsu, correctly assuming they are planning to kill him and usurp his throne, later makes war upon them and is killed.

In the myth recorded on cuneiform tablets, the deity Enki (later Ea) believed correctly that Apsu was planning to murder the younger deities, upset with the chaos they created, and so captured him and held him prisoner beneath his temple the E-Abzu. This angered Kingu, their son, who reported the event to Tiamat, whereupon she fashioned eleven monsters to battle the deities in order to avenge Apsu’s death.

Enraged, she, too, wars upon her husband’s murderers, taking on the form of a massive sea dragon. Tiamat possessed the Tablet of Destinies and in the primordial battle she gave them to Kingu, the deity she had chosen as her lover and the leader of her host, and who was also one of her children.

The deities gathered in terror, but Anu, (replaced later, first by Enlil and, in the late version that has survived after the First Dynasty of Babylon, by Marduk, the son of Ea), first extracting a promise that he would be revered as “king of the gods”, overcame her, armed with the arrows of the winds, a net, a club, and an invincible spear, but not before she had brought forth the monsters of the Mesopotamian pantheon, including the first dragons, whose bodies she filled with “poison instead of blood”.

Slicing Tiamat in half, he made from her ribs the vault of heaven and earth. Her weeping eyes became the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates, her tail became the Milky Way. With the approval of the elder deities, he took from Kingu the Tablet of Destinies, installing himself as the head of the Babylonian pantheon.

Kingu was captured and later was slain: his red blood mixed with the red clay of the Earth would make the body of humankind, created to act as the servant of the younger Igigi deities.

The doctrine once established remained an inherent part of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion and led to the more or less complete disassociation of the three gods constituting the triad from their original local limitations.

An intermediate step between Anu viewed as the local deity of Uruk, Enlil as the god of Nippur, and Ea as the god of Eridu is represented by the prominence which each one of the centres associated with the three deities in question must have acquired, and which led to each one absorbing the qualities of other gods so as to give them a controlling position in an organized pantheon.

For Nippur we have the direct evidence that its chief deity, En-lil, was once regarded as the head of the Sumerian pantheon. The sanctity and, therefore, the importance of Eridu remained a fixed tradition in the minds of the people to the latest days, and analogy therefore justifies the conclusion that Anu was likewise worshipped in a centre which had acquired great prominence.

Enmešara (Nergal) and Tammuz 

When Enlil rose to equal or surpass An in authority, the functions of the two deities came to some extent to overlap. An was also sometimes equated with Amurru, and, in Seleucid Uruk, with Enmešara, in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology is an underworld god of the law, and Tammuz (Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”), the name of a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, also worshiped in the later Mesopotamian states.

Enmesarra has been described as an ancestor of Enlil, and it has been claimed that Enlil slew him. He was described as a Sun god, protector of flocks and vegetation, and therefore he has been equated with Nergal, who over time developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld.

In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar. The Levantine (“lord”) Adonis, who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, was considered by Joseph Campbell among others to be another counterpart of Tammuz, son and consort.

Beginning with the summer solstice came a time of mourning in the Ancient Near East, as in the Aegean: the Babylonians marked the decline in daylight hours and the onset of killing summer heat and drought with a six-day “funeral” for the god. In cult practice, the dead Tammuz was widely mourned in the Ancient Near East.

Recent discoveries reconfirm him as an annual life-death-rebirth deity: tablets discovered in 1963 show that Dumuzi was in fact consigned to the Underworld himself, in order to secure Inanna’s release, though the recovered final line reveals that he is to revive for six months of each year.

Baldr (“lord, prince, king”) is a god in Norse mythology often interpreted as the god of love, peace, forgiveness, justice, light or purity, but was not directly attested as a god of such. He is the second son of Odin and the goddess Frigg. His twin brother is the blind god, Höðr. Nanna is the wife of Baldr and the couple produced a son, the god Forseti (Old Norse “the presiding one,” actually “president” in Modern Icelandic and Faroese), an Æsir god of justice and reconciliation.

After Baldr’s death, Nanna dies of grief. Nanna is placed on Baldr’s ship with his corpse and the two are set aflame and pushed out to sea. In Hel, Baldr and Nanna are united again.  In an attempt to bring back Baldr from the dead, the god Hermóðr rides to Hel and, upon receiving the hope of resurrection from the being Hel, Nanna gives Hermóðr gifts to give to the goddess Frigg (a robe of linen), the goddess Fulla (a finger-ring), and others (unspecified).

Inanna was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Dumuzi was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries. In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars, the ruling planet of Aries and is exalted in Capricorn.

Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle. He has also been called “the king of sunset”.

Nergal was also the deity who presides over the netherworld, and who stands at the head of the special pantheon assigned to the government of the dead (supposed to be gathered in a large subterranean cave known as Aralu or Irkalla). In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.

Mars is the Roman god of war and bloodshed, whose symbol is a spear and shield. Týr is a god of war and will take mead, meat and blood for sacrifice. If a warrior carved the rune Tîwaz on his weapon he would be dedicating it to Týr and strengthen the outcome of a battle to be in his favor. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.

There is sketchy evidence of a consort, in German named Zisa: Tacitus mentions one Germanic tribe who worshipped “Isis”, and Jacob Grimm pointed to Cisa/Zisa, the patroness of Augsburg, in this connection. The name Zisa could be derived from Ziu etymologically. This Zisa would be the female consort of Ziu, as Dione was of Zeus.

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. Scholarly theories have proposed that Hel may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali or that Hel may have become a being only as a late personification of the location of the same name.

Kali is worshipped by Hindus throughout India. Her earliest appearance is that of a destroyer principally of evil forces. Over time, she has been worshipped by devotional movements and tantric sects variously as the Divine Mother, Mother of the Universe, Adi Shakti, or Adi Parashakti. Shakta Hindu and Tantric sects additionally worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also seen as divine protector and the one who bestows moksha, or liberation. She is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.

In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.

The consort of Mars was Nerio or Nerine, “Valor.” She represents the vital force (vis), power (potentia) and majesty (maiestas) of Mars. Her name was regarded as Sabine in origin and is equivalent to Latin virtus, “manly virtue” (from vir, “man”). A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Nerine were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23. In the later Roman Empire, Nerine came to be identified with Minerva, born with weapons from the head of Jupiter.

Nerio probably originates as a divine personification of Mars’ power, as such abstractions in Latin are generally feminine. Her name appears with that of Mars in an archaic prayer invoking a series of abstract qualities, each paired with the name of a deity. The influence of Greek mythology and its anthropomorphic gods may have caused Roman writers to treat these pairs as “marriages.”

Dīs Pater, commonly shortened to simply Dīs, which has since become an alternative name for the underworld or a part of the underworld, was a Roman god of the underworld, later subsumed by Pluto or Hades (Hades was Greek). Originally a chthonic god of riches, fertile agricultural land, and underground mineral wealth, he was later commonly equated with the Roman deities Pluto and Orcus, like Hades the name of both a god of the underworld and the underworld as a place, becoming an underworld deity.

Pluto was also identified with the obscure Roman Orcus. The borrowed Greek name Pluto is sometimes used for the ruler of the dead in Latin literature, leading some mythology handbooks to assert misleadingly that Pluto was the Roman counterpart of Hades. Pluto (Pluton in French and German, Plutone in Italian) becomes the most common name for the classical ruler of the underworld in subsequent Western literature and other art forms.

Pluto was the ruler of the underworld in classical mythology. The earlier name for the god was Hades, which became more common as the name of the underworld itself. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Pluto represents a more positive concept of the god who presides over the afterlife. Ploutōn was frequently conflated with Ploutos, a god of wealth, because mineral wealth was found underground, and because as a chthonic god Pluto ruled the deep earth that contained the seeds necessary for a bountiful harvest.

The name Ploutōn came into widespread usage with the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which Pluto was venerated as a stern ruler but the loving husband of Persephone. The couple received souls in the afterlife, and are invoked together in religious inscriptions. Hades by contrast had few temples and religious practices associated with him, and is portrayed as the dark and violent abductor of Persephone.

Pluto and Hades differ in character, but they are not distinct figures and share their two major myths. In Greek cosmogony, the god received the rule of the underworld in a three-way division of sovereignty over the world, with his brothers Zeus ruling the Sky and Poseidon the Sea. His central narrative is the abduction of Persephone to be his wife and the queen of his realm.

Plouton as the name of the ruler of the underworld first appears in Greek literature of the Classical period, in the works of the Athenian playwrights and of the philosopher Plato, who is the major Greek source on its significance. Under the name Pluto, the god appears in other myths in a secondary role, mostly as the possessor of a quest-object, and especially in the descent of Orpheus or other heroes to the underworld.

Pluto’s Roman equivalent is Dis Pater, whose name is most often taken to mean “Rich Father” and is perhaps a direct translation of Plouton. Like Pluto, Dīs Pater eventually became associated with death and the underworld because the wealth of the earth—gems and precious metals—was considered in the domain of the Greco-Roman underworld. As a result, Dīs Pater was over time conflated with the Greek god Hades.

In being conflated with Pluto, Dīs Pater took on some of the Greek mythological attributes of Pluto / Hades, being one of the three sons of Saturn (Greek: Cronus) and Ops (Greek: Rhea), along with Jupiter and Neptune. He ruled the underworld and the dead beside his wife, Proserpina (Greek: Persephone). In literature, Dīs Pater was commonly used as a symbolic and poetic way of referring to death itself.

The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, and in Latin literature and Roman art, the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name Iuppiter. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto. Each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, the waters, and the underworld. The Italic Diespiter was also a sky god who manifested himself in the daylight, usually but not always identified with Jupiter. Tinia is usually regarded as his Etruscan counterpart.

It is often thought that Dīs Pater was also a Celtic god. This confusion arises from the second-hand citation of one of Julius Caesar’s comments in his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars VI:18, where he says that the Gauls all claimed descent from Dīs Pater.

However, Caesar’s remark is a clear example of interpretatio Romana: what Caesar meant was that the Gauls all claimed descent from a Gaulish god that reminded him of the Roman Dīs Pater, that is, a chthonic deity associated with prosperity and fertility. Different possible candidates exist for this role in Celtic religion, such as Gaulish Sucellus, Irish Donn and Welsh Beli Mawr, among others.

Cicero in his De Natura Deorum derives the name of Dīs Pater from dives, suggesting a meaning of “father of riches”, directly corresponding to the name Pluto (from Greek Ploutōn, meaning “wealthy”). Some even suggests that Dīs Pater is a direct loan translation of Ploutōn. Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of the same god as Jupiter, Proto-Indo-European Dyeus Phter, believed to have been the chief deity in the religious traditions of the prehistoric Proto-Indo-European societies.

Part of a larger pantheon, Dyeus Phter was the god of the daylight sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in society. In his aspect as a father god, his consort would have been Pltwih Méhter, “earth mother”. According to this scholarly reconstruction, Dyeus was addressed as Dyeu Phter, literally “sky father” or “shining father”, as reflected in Latin Iūpiter, Diēspiter, possibly Dis Pater and deus pater, Greek Zeu pater, Sanskrit Dyàuṣpítaḥ.

Rooted in the related but distinct Indo-European word *deiwos is the Latin word for deity, deus. The Latin word is also continued in English divine, “deity”, and the original Germanic word remains visible in “Tuesday” (“Day of Tīwaz”) and Old Norse tívar, which may be continued in the toponym Tiveden (“Wood of the Gods”, or of Týr).

Scorpio

Scorpio is one of the constellations and the eighth astrological sign in the Zodiac. Its name is Latin for scorpion. It spans the 210–240th degree of the zodiac, between 207.25 and 234.75 degree of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area on average between October 24 and November 22, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Scorpius from approximately November 16 to December 15. Scorpio is one of the three zodiac water signs, the others being Cancer and Pisces.

It lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. In Greek mythology, the myths associated with Scorpio almost invariably also contain a reference to Orion. After Orion was killed, Artemis asked Zeus to put Orion up in the sky. So every winter Orion hunts in the sky, but every summer he flees as the constellation of the scorpion comes.

The Babylonians called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, the signs can be literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’. In some old descriptions the constellation of Libra is treated as the Scorpion’s claws. Libra was known as the Claws of the Scorpion in Babylonian, Zibānītu (compare Arabic zubānā), and in Greek.

Scorpion Men

Scorpion Men are featured in several Akkadian language myths, including the Enûma Elish and the Babylonian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. They were also known as aqrabuamelu or girtablilu. The Scorpion Men are described to have the head, torso, and arms of a man and the body of a scorpion. They were first created by the Tiamat in order to wage war against the younger gods for the betrayal of her mate Apsu.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, they stand guard outside the gates of the sun god Shamash at the mountains of Mashu. These give entrance to Kurnugi, the land of darkness. The scorpion men open the doors for Shamash as he travels out each day, and close the doors after him when he returns to the underworld at night. They also warn travellers of the danger that lies beyond their post. Their heads touch the sky, their “terror is awesome” and their “glance is death”.

The Sun god

Shamash (Akkadian: Šamaš UD) was the solar deity in ancient Semitic religion, corresponding to the Sumerian god Utu. When the Semitic Akkadians moved into Mesopotamia, their pantheon became syncretized to the Sumerian, rather like the Graeco-Roman deities did. Inanna to Ishtar, Nanna to Sin, Utu to Shamash, etc. Akkadian šamaš “Sun” is cognate to Syriac: šemša, Hebrew:‎‎ šemeš and Arabic: šams.

Shamash was historically associated with the planet Saturn. However, Ninurta, who was the son of Enlil, and the patron deity of the city of Nippur, was associated with the planet Saturn. In the astral-theological system Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn, or perhaps as offspring or an aspect of Saturn. In his capacity as a farmer-god, there are similarities between Ninurta and the Greek Titan Kronos, whom the Romans in turn identified with their Titan Saturn.

Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow, a sickle sword, or a mace named Sharur, which means “smasher of thousands”. Sumerian mythic sources describe it as an enchanted talking mace. However, apart from its ability to fly and communicate with its wielder, Sharur may also take the form of a winged lion, a common motif in Sumerian and Akkadian lore. It may represent an archetype for the later Shedu, a protective deity, often depicted as having a human’s head, a body of an ox or a lion, and bird’s wings.

Saturn is the ruling planet of Capricorn and is exalted in Libra. In Roman mythology, Saturn is the god of agriculture, leader of the titans, founder of civilizations, social order, and conformity. The glyph is shaped like a scythe, but it is known as the “crescent below the cross”, whereas Jupiter’s glyph is the “crescent above the cross”.

Shamash is frequently associated with the lion, both in mythology and artistic depictions. The lion’s mane and shoulders also form an asterism known as “the Sickle,” which to modern observers may resemble a backwards “question mark.” The Persians called Leo Ser or Shir; the Turks, Artan; the Syrians, Aryo; the Jews, Arye; the Indians, Simha, all meaning “lion”.

Standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion, and boundary-stone monuments symbolise him with a mace surmounted by the head of a lion. In Assyro-Babylonian ecclesiastical art the great lion-headed colossi serving as guardians to the temples and palaces seem to symbolise Nergal, just as the bull-headed colossi probably typify Ninurta.

In the ancient Canaanite religion, a “son of Baal Shamash”, is known for slaying a lion. Interestingly, this lion slayer was originally a lion. The same symbolism is observed in Ancient Egypt where in the temple of Dendera, Ahi the Great is called “the Lion of the Sun, and the lion who rises in the northern sky, the brilliant god who bears the sun”.

Leo is one of the constellations of the zodiac, lying between Cancer to the west and Virgo to the east. Its name is Latin for lion, and to the ancient Greeks represented the Nemean Lion killed by the mythical Greek hero Heracles (known to the ancient Romans as Hercules) as the first of his twelve labours. In Babylonian astronomy, the constellation was called UR.GU.LA, the “Great Lion”; the bright star Regulus was known as “the star that stands at the Lion’s breast.” Regulus also had distinctly regal associations, as it was known as the King Star.

In a legend, Ninurta battles a birdlike monster called Imdugud (Akkadian: Anzû); a Babylonian version relates how the monster Anzû steals the Tablets of Destiny from Enlil. The Tablets of Destiny were believed to contain the details of fate and the future.

Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the “Slain Heroes”. There are many parallels with both Heracles / Hercules and the story of Marduk (son of Enki) who slew Tiamat and delivered the Tablets of Destiny from Kingu to his father, Enki.

Shamash was the god of justice in Babylonia and Assyria. Just as the Sun disperses darkness, so Shamash brings wrong and injustice to light. Several centuries before Hammurabi, Ur-Engur of the Ur dynasty (c. 2600 BC) declared that he rendered decisions “according to the just laws of Shamash”, the embodiment of the idea of justice.

It was a logical consequence of this conception of the Sun-god that he was regarded also as the one who released the sufferer from the grasp of the demons. The sick man, therefore, appeals to Shamash as the god who can be depended upon to help those who are suffering unjustly. This aspect of the Sun-god is vividly brought out in the hymns addressed to him.

Both in early and in late inscriptions Shamash is designated as the “offspring of Nannar”; i.e. of the Moon-god, and since, in an enumeration of the pantheon, Sin generally takes precedence of Shamash, it is in relationship, presumably, to the Moon-god that the Sun-god appears as the dependent power.

Such a supposition would accord with the prominence acquired by the Moon in the calendar and in astrological calculations, as well as with the fact that the Moon-cult belongs to the nomadic and therefore earlier stage of civilization, whereas the Sun-god rises to full importance only after the agricultural stage has been reached.

The two chief centres of Sun-worship in Babylonia were Sippar, represented by the mounds at Abu Habba, and Larsa, represented by the modern Senkerah. At both places the chief sanctuary bore the name E-barra (or E-babbara) “the shining house”—a direct allusion to the brilliancy of the Sun-god.

According to the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica the Shamash cults at Sippar and Larsa so overshadowed local Sun-deities elsewhere as to lead to an absorption of the minor deities by the predominating one, in the systematized pantheon these minor Sun-gods become attendants that do his service.

Other Sun-deities such as Ninurta and Nergal, the patron deities of other important centers, retained their independent existences as certain phases of the Sun, with Ninurta becoming the Sun-god of the morning and spring time and Nergal the Sun-god of the noon and the summer solstice. In the wake of such syncretism Shamash was usually viewed as the Sun-god in general.

Together with Nannar–Sin and Ishtar, Shamash completes another triad by the side of Anu, Enlil and Ea. The three powers Sin, Shamash and Ishtar symbolized three great forces of nature: the Moon, the Sun, and the life-giving force of the earth, respectively.

At times instead of Ishtar we find Adad, the storm-god, associated with Sin and Shamash, and it may be that these two sets of triads represent the doctrines of two different schools of theological thought in Babylonia that were subsequently harmonized by the recognition of a group consisting of all four deities.

The Sun

The Sun is the ruling planet of Leo and is exalted in Aries. In Greek mythology, the Sun was represented by the Titans Hyperion and Helios (Roman Sol, and later by Apollo, the god of light). Astrologically speaking, the Sun is usually thought to represent the conscious ego, the self and its expression, personal power, pride and authority, leadership qualities and the principles of creativity, spontaneity, health and vitality, the sum of which is named the “life force”.

The Sun is the star at the center of our solar system, around which the Earth and other planets revolve and provides us with heat and light. The arc that the Sun travels in every year, rising and setting in a slightly different place each day, is therefore in reality a reflection of the Earth’s own orbit around the Sun. This arc is larger the farther north or south from the equator latitude, giving a more extreme difference between day and night and between seasons during the year.

The Sun travels through the twelve signs of the zodiac on its annual journey, spending about a month in each. The Sun’s position on a person’s birthday therefore determines what is usually called his or her “sun” sign. However, the sun sign allotment varies between Western (sign change around 22-23 of every month) and Hindu astrology (sign change around 14-15 of every month) due the different systems of planetary calculations, following the tropical and sidereal definitions respectively.

In medicine, the Sun is associated with the heart, circulatory system, and the thymus. In Ayurveda, it rules over life-force (praan-shakti), governs bile temperament (pitta), stomach, bones and eyes. The Sun is associated with Sunday. Dante Alighieri associated the Sun with the liberal art of music. In Chinese astrology, the Sun represents Yang, the active, assertive masculine life principle.

Aya

The main solar deity of Mesopotamia was certainly male – Šamaš in Akkadian, and UTU in Sumerian. Evidence for this figure is abundant, and he performs normal sun-god/dess activities like witnessing and judging human activity, and maintaining life.

However, there are early personal names with a more feminine connotation, such asUmmi-Samas, (Šamaš is my mother), and Tulid-Shamash (Šamaš gave birth), which indicate that perhaps Šamaš had a female side. (In the same region, after all, the Canaanites and the Arabs both had sun-goddesses, Šapaš and Shams.)

Shapash, Shapsh, Shapshu or sometimes Shemesh was the Canaanite goddess of the sun, daughter of El and Asherah. She is known as “torch of the gods” and is considered an important deity in the Canaanite pantheon and among the Phoenicians.

The Akkadian sun god, Shamash, was the Mesopotamian male equivalent of the female Canaanite Shapash. She may also be related to a preeminent deity at Ebla named Shipish, and to Shams or Chems, a pre-Islamic Arabic sun deity worshipped at sunrise, noon, and sunset.

In the Epic of Baal, Shapash plays an important part in the plot, as she interacts with all of the main characters, and in the end she is favourable to Baal’s position as king. She announces that El supports Yam.

By delivering her verdict in the final struggle of Baal with Mot, she reveals her role as judge among the gods, and by her judgement against Mot, as saviour of humankind, two aspects, Brian B. Schmidt observes, that conform with what is known of Shamash’s function in Mesopotamia.

A goddess called A or Aya, described as a minor sun goddess, was Šamaš’ consort, in Akkadian mythology a mother goddess developed from the ancient Sumerian mother goddess Šherida, the  goddess, giver and sustainer of light and life, the consort of Utu.

She was once a primary deity who had solar characteristics in her own righ, but in time assumed a subordinate role as consort to the sun god, Utu. Her name means simply lady or mistress. It is thought that she was a form of solar deity who became identified with the chief sun-god, and then was married to him.

One of her titles was dsud-aga – nur same “heavenly light”, and in Akkadian Aya meant simply “dawn”, and by the Akkadian period she was firmly associated with the rising sun and with sexual love and youth. She must have been a popular deity, and an old one, with inscriptions dating back to pre-Sargonic times. She was important enough to be one of the treaty-deities of Hatti, and appears in god-lists from Ugarit.

She was mostly worshipped as an intercessor, since her husband was the gods of justice, just like Mary in the Christian tradition. A cylinder seal in the Freud Collection shows Šamaš, a king, and a woman in horned head-dress, who may well be Aya. She stands with upraised arms behind the king and is probably intervening on his behalf. In the epic of Gilgamesh, the hero’s mother blames Šamaš for his desire to go wandering, and asks Aya to intervene so that the god will protect her son.

She is, however, rarely mentioned in the inscriptions except in combination with Shamash. In Old Babylonian administrative documents from the vicinity of the city of Sippar, Aya appears also to share her husband Šamaš’s role in overseeing justice. Šamaš and Aya are the two deities “witnessing” transactions such as field or house rentals and temple loans.

None of this is to say that Serida is a sun-goddess, but she seems to have been a light-goddess like the Greek Theia, who was Hyperion’s wife and Helios’ mother. The voluptuous aspect would fit with other dawn-goddesses, such as Eos and Ushas.

Arinna

The city of Arinna, a day’s march from Hattusa, was perhaps the major cult center of the Hittites, and certainly of their major sun goddess, known as UTU Arinna (“sun goddess of Arinna”). The name was also used as a substitute name for Arinniti.

The sun goddess of Arinna is the most important one of three important solar deities of the Hittite pantheon, besides UTU nepisas (“the sun of the sky”) and UTU taknas (“the sun of the earth”). She was considered to be the chief deity in some source, in place of her husband.

Her consort was the weather god, Teshub, a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatalhöyük in the Neolithic era. The goddess was also perceived to be a paramount chthonic or earth goddess. She becomes largely syncretised with the Hurrian mother goddess Hebat, known as “the mother of all living” and “Queen of the deities”. The mother goddess is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele.

The Hittite sun goddess Arinniti was later assimilated with Hebat. A prayer of Queen Puduhepa makes this explicit: “To the Sun-goddess of Arinna, my lady, the mistress of the Hatti lands, the queen of Heaven and Earth. Sun-goddess of Arinna, thou art Queen of all countries! In the Hatti country thou bearest the name of the Sun-goddess of Arinna; but in the land which thou madest the cedar land thou bearest the name Hebat.”

Teshub (also written Teshup or Tešup; cuneiform IM, read as Tarhunzas) was the Hurrian god of sky and storm. Taru was the name of a similar Hattic Storm God, whose mythology and worship as a primary deity continued and evolved through descendant Luwian and Hittite cultures. In these two, Taru was known as Tarhun / Tarhunt- / Tarhuwant- / Tarhunta, names derived from the Anatolian root *tarh “to defeat, conquer”.

Teshub reappears in the post-Hurrian cultural successor kingdom of Urartu as Tesheba, one of their chief gods; in Urartian art he is depicted standing on a bull. He is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs. According to Hittite myths, one of Teshub’s greatest acts was the slaying of the dragon Illuyanka.

The Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin—he was conceived when the god Kumarbi, identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil, and by the Ugaritians with El, bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, similarly to the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony.

Ḫaldi (also known as Khaldi or Hayk) was one of the three chief deities of Urartu (Ararat). His shrine was at Ardini (Muṣaṣir). The other two chief deities were Theispas of Kumenu, and Shivini of Tushpa. Of all the gods of the Urartian pantheon, the most inscriptions are dedicated to Khaldi. His wife was the goddess Arubani, the Urartian’s goddess of fertility and art. He was portrayed as a man with or without wings, standing on a lion.

Khaldi was a warrior god whom the kings of Urartu would pray to for victories in battle. The temples dedicated to Khaldi were adorned with weapons, such as swords, spears, bows and arrows, and shields hung off the walls and were sometimes known as ‘the house of weapons’.

Kallatu

In her role as wife Aya was a goddess of sexuality and fertility, called kallatum (“young woman, daughter-in-law, bride”) and belet-ulsazu unat (“Mistress adorned with voluptuousness”). In Akkadian, the bride on her wedding day was called kallatu kutumtu (“the veiled bride”), perhaps, linguistically, related to the Hebrew kalah. Also, in Akkadian; she was called pussumtu, (“the veiled one”), which means the same as kallatu.

The birth of the first child, particularly if it is a boy, is of greatest importance for the woman. Hitherto called kallatu, “young bride,” she becomes assatu (“wife”), since the child is the true fulfillment of the marriage.

The unveiling of the bride … was a cardinal element of ancient wedding ceremonies, and it has even been suggested that the familiar Biblical use of the word ‘know’ to denote sexual relations referred originally to the bridegroom’s coming to know the features of his bride by lifting her veil before the consummation of the marriage. The Arab bridegroom, we are told, often sees his bride’s face for the first time on that occasion.

The Babylonians sometimes referred to her as kallatu (the bride), and as such she was known as the wife of Shamash. In fact, she was worshiped as part of a separate-but-attached cult in Shamash’s e-babbar temples in Larsa and Sippar.

The veil and headscarf have political, sexual, religious, and social meanings that combine and overlap: the head covering can connote class affiliation, regional distinctions, or religious belief as well as signifying the status of femaleness.

The veil can be traced back all the way to early antiquity as both attribute of goddesses and a garment worn by ordinary mortal women. The earliest evidence comes from Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean region.

In ancient Greece as well, the veil was part of the attire worn by married women from the upper classes. Brides likewise wear a veil over their face as a sign of their modesty—a custom practiced by both the Jews and the Greeks and later adopted by the Romans.

In Hebrew the literal meaning of the word for bride (kallatu) is “the veiled one.” By lifting the bride’s veil the bridegroom symbolically exposes her pudenda, and by thus “knowing” her he symbolically performs the sexual act.

While the veil as an attribute of the goddess symbolizes her independence as well as the unavailability of what is sacred—the unmarried priestesses of the Roman goddess Vesta, for example, guarded an inner realm protected by curtains and hidden from the sight of mere mortals, where they performed their rituals unseen—in the secular sphere, a wife uses the veil to demonstrate her association with a man (her respectability) and thereby distinguish herself from the prostitute, who was forbidden from donning the veil under threat of severe punishment.

In Christianity, by contrast, the veil signals the renunciation of sexuality and reproduction, without however completely suppressing the other possible meanings. Finally, to cite one final paradox, the veil can mark the woman’s body as absent and mysterious, and it can symbolize that invisible “secret of virginity” hidden within the female body.

Many depictions of the Annunciation thus showed Mary busy spinning and weaving when the angel arrived to announce that, though a virgin, she would give birth to a son.13 Following the “discovery” of the maidenhead in the eleventh century, the veil came to symbolize the invisible hymen of the virgin.

The semantic richness of the veil is great, touching on political, religious, physical, and many other dimensions. It plays an important role in the encounter between Islam and western society, because it also has a long tradition in Christian society.

Of the three religions of the book, only the Christian faith ever required women to cover their heads when entering a house of God. This utterly divergent significance attributed to the veiling of the woman in the Christian faith can be explained by examining the differences between how the religions are structured.

Unlike the Jewish religion or Islam, Christian doctrine proclaims at its heart a message of unveiling, set down in the last book of the New Testament, the Revelation to John. The Greek word for revelation is apokalypsis, literally “unveiling,” which is composed of kalypta, referring to a sort of veil-like shawl, and the prefix apo (= away from, off). The Latin concept of revelatio also denotes a symbolic act of unveiling (velum = veil or curtain).

Both the Jewish and Islamic faiths assume a hidden God who must not be depicted—thus remaining veiled—and with whom the believer cannot come into direct contact: he must therefore veil himself when confronting Him. For this reason, when both Moses and Mohammed received the revealed Word, it was necessary for them to veil their heads.

In the Hebrew Bible it is said that on the Mountain of God, Moses “hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (2 Moses, 3:6), while in the case of Mohammed, tradition has it that, prior to his abduction, as he felt the approach of God, he called out: “Wrap me up.” In fact, in Islamic tradition Mohammed is also known as “the Veil Man” (dū l-himar).14 In two suras of the Koran he is explicitly addressed as “O Veiled One” (73:1) and “O Covered One” (74:1).

As a “religion of unveiling,” Christianity obeys a different logic. The notion of unveiling implies being able to see and comprehend the Truth of Christ, i.e. the secret of God, unconcealed, in the form of Christ, the “word made flesh,” in other words, the Son of God made visible.

Sacred marriage

By the Neo-Babylonian period at the latest (and possibly much earlier), Shamash and Aya were associated with a practice known as Hasadu (“sacred marriage”), also known as Hieros gamos or Hierogamy (“Holy marriage”), a sexual ritual that plays out a marriage between a god and a goddess, especially when enacted in a symbolic ritual where human participants represent the deities.

Sacred prostitution was common in the Ancient Near East as a form of “Sacred Marriage” or hieros gamos between the king of a Sumerian city-state and the High Priestess of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare. Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers there were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The temple of Eanna (“house of heaven”) in Uruk was the greatest of these.

The temple housed Nadītu, priestesses of the goddess. The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos or sacred marriage, celebrated during the annual Duku ceremony, just before Invisible Moon, with the autumn Equinox (Autumnal Zag-mu Festival).

A room would be set aside with a bed, and on certain occasions the temple statues of Shamash and Aya would be brought together and laid on the bed to ceremonially renew their vows. This ceremony was also practiced by the cults of Marduk with Sarpanitum, Nabu with Tashmetum, and Anu with Antu.

The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos or sacred marriage, celebrated during the annual Akitu (New Year) ceremony, at the spring Equinox.

In late Sumerian history (end of the third millennium) kings established their legitimacy by taking the place of Dumuzi in the temple for one night on the tenth day of the New Year festival. A Sacred Marriage to Inanna may have conferred legitimacy on a number of rulers of Uruk.

In Mesopotamian religion Tiamat is a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the god of fresh water) to produce younger gods. She is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation, depicted as a woman, she represents the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon.

It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is a creator goddess, through a “Sacred marriage” between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second “Chaoskampf” Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos.

In Hinduism, Devadasi tradition (“servant of god”) is a religious tradition in which girls are “married” and dedicated to a deity (deva or devi) or to a Hindu temple and includes performance aspects such as those that take place in the temple as well as in the courtly and mujuvani [Telugu] or home context.

Originally, in addition to this and taking care of the temple and performing rituals, these women learned and practiced Sadir, Odissi and other classical Indian artistic traditions and enjoyed a high social status. Though traditionally, they carry out dances in the praise of lord, they also evolved into Sacred Marriage over time.

Istan

Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known as Tiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.

Tyr

Týr is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Týr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto (see Tacitus’ Germania) suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon, since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion.

Týr is a god of war and will take mead, meat and blood for sacrifice. If a warrior carved the rune Tîwaz on his weapon he would be dedicating it to Týr and strengthen the outcome of a battle to be in his favor. It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis. In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars)—hence the current name of the planet.

Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle. He has also been called “the king of sunset”.

Libra

Libra is a constellation of the zodiac and it is the 7th astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 180–210th degree of the zodiac, between 180 and 207.25 degree of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac the Sun transits this area on average between (northern autumnal equinox/ southern vernal equinox) September 23 and October 22, and under the sidereal zodiac the sun currently transits the constellation of Libra from approximately October 16 to November 17.

It is fairly faint, with no first magnitude stars, and lies between Virgo to the west and Scorpius to the east. Libra is one of the three zodiac air signs, the others being Gemini and Aquarius. Venus is the ruling planet of Taurus and Libra and is exalted in Pisces. In Roman mythology, Venus is the goddess of love and beauty, famous for the passions she could stir among the gods.

The constellation of Libra is sometimes seen as the Scales of Justice. The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. She became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice. This leads to an association with the constellation of Virgo, who has been identified with Astraea or Dike, the Goddess of Justice. It is the Goddess who judges the souls of men after their death by weighing them in her balance.

Libra was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu (the “scales” or “balance”), or alternatively as the Claws of the Scorpion. The scales were held sacred to the sun god Shamash, who was also the patron of truth and justice. It was also seen as the Scorpion’s Claws in ancient Greece. Since these times, Libra has been associated with law, fairness and civility. In Arabic zubānā means “scorpion’s claws”, and likely similarly in other Semitic languages: this resemblance of words may be why the Scorpion’s claws became the Scales.

It has also been suggested that the scales are an allusion to the fact that when the sun entered this part of the ecliptic at the autumnal equinox, the days and nights are equal. Libra’s status as the location of the equinox earned the equinox the name “First Point of Libra”, though this location ceased to coincide with the constellation in 730 because of the precession of the equinoxes.

Libra is a constellation not mentioned by Eudoxus or Aratus. Libra is mentioned by Manetho (3rd century BC.) and Geminus (1st century BC.), and included by Ptolemy in his 48 asterisms. It only became a constellation in ancient Rome, when it began to represent the scales held by Astraea, the goddess of justice, associated with Virgo.

According to the Romans in the First Century, Libra was a constellation they idolized. The moon was said to be in Libra when Rome was founded. Everything was balanced under this righteous sign. The Roman writer Manilius once said that Libra was the sign “in which the seasons are balanced”. Both the hours of the day and the hours of the night match each other. Thus why the Romans put so much trust in the “balanced sign”.

Going back to ancient Greek times, Libra the constellation between Virgo and Scorpio used to be over ruled by the constellation of Scorpio. They called the area the Latin word “chelae”, which translated to “the claws” which can help identify the individual stars that make up the full constellation of Libra, since it was so closely identified with the Scorpion constellation in the sky.

Gryphon

The sign of Libra is symbolized by the gryphon, a mythological creature with the head, wings and talons of an eagle and hind legs of a lion. The griffin is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle’s talons as its front feet.

Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of all creatures. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.

Maat

Libra, the Scales of Balance and Final Judgment dates back to Egyptian afterlife rituals wherein a scale was allegedly used to weigh the souls of the dead. Anubis, the Greek name of a god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion, usually depicted as a canine or a man with a canine head, weighs the heart of the deceased against the feather of Ma’at, goddess of truth and justice. Libra is also considered the goddess of balance and truth and corresponds with Ma’at, the goddess of the scales or balance.

Maat or Ma’at was the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation.

The earliest surviving records indicating that Maat is the norm for nature and society, in this world and the next, were recorded during the Old Kingdom, the earliest substantial surviving examples being found in the Pyramid Texts of Unas (2375-2345 BC). Later, as a goddess in other traditions of the Egyptian pantheon, where most goddesses were paired with a male aspect, her masculine counterpart was Thoth, as their attributes are similar. In other accounts, Thoth was paired off with Seshat, goddess of writing and measure, who is a lesser known deity.

After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in Egyptian mythology dealt with the weighing of souls (also called the weighing of the heart) that took place in the underworld, Duat. Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully.

Her ideological counterpart was Isfet or Asfet (meaning “injustice”, “chaos”, or “violence”; as a verb, “to do evil”), an ancient Egyptian term from Egyptian mythology used in philosophy, which was built on a religious, social and political affected dualism.

Duat was the realm of the dead in ancient Egyptian mythology. It was the realm of the deity Osiris and the residence of other gods and supernatural beings. The Duat was the region through which the sun god Ra traveled from west to east during the night, and where he battled Apep. It was also the place where people’s souls went after death for judgement, though that was not the full extent of the afterlife. Burial chambers formed touching-points between the mundane world and the Duat, and spirits could use tombs to travel back and forth from the Duat.

The weighing of the heart, pictured on papyrus in the Book of the Dead typically, or in tomb scenes, shows Anubis overseeing the weighing and the lioness Ammit seated awaiting the results so she could consume those who failed. The image would be the vertical heart on one flat surface of the balance scale and the vertical Shu-feather standing on the other balance scale surface. Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing. While the heart was weighed the deceased recited the 42 Negative Confessions as the Assessors of Maat looked on.

Like many ancient Egyptian deities, Anubis assumed different roles in various contexts. Depicted as a protector of graves as early as the First Dynasty (3100–2890 BC), Anubis was also an embalmer. By the Middle Kingdom (2055–1650 BC) he was replaced by Osiris in his role as lord of the underworld. One of his prominent roles was as a god who ushered souls into the afterlife. He attended the weighing scale during the “Weighing of the Heart,” in which it was determined whether a soul would be allowed to enter the realm of the dead.

Demeter 

In ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and agriculture, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito, “she of the Grain”, as the giver of food or grain, and Thesmophoros (θεσμός, thesmos: divine order, unwritten law; phoros: bringer, bearer), “Law-Bringer,” as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.

Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon. In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of circa 1400–1200 BC found at Pylos, the “two mistresses and the king” may be related with Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon. Her Roman equivalent is Ceres.

Virgo

Virgo is one of the constellations and the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac. Its name is Latin for virgin. Lying between Leo to the west and Libra to the east, it is the second largest constellation in the sky (after Hydra). It can be easily found through its brightest star, Spica, making it easy to locate Virgo, as it can be found by following the curve of the Big Dipper/Plough to Arcturus in Boötes and continuing from there in the same curve (“follow the arc to Arcturus and speed on to Spica”).

It spans the 150-180th degree of the zodiac. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between August 22 and September 22, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits the constellation of Virgo from September 17 to October 17. The symbol of the maiden is based on Astraea. In Greek mythology, she was the last immortal to abandon Earth at the end of the Silver Age, when the gods fled to Olympus – hence the sign’s association with Earth.

According to the Babylonian Mul.Apin, which dates from 1000–686 BCE, this constellation was known as “The Furrow”, representing the goddess Shala’s ear of grain. One star in this constellation, Spica, retains this tradition as it is Latin for “ear of grain”, one of the major products of the Mesopotamian furrow. The constellation was also known as “AB.SIN” and “absinnu”. For this reason the constellation became associated with fertility.

According to Gavin White the figure of Virgo corresponds to two Babylonian constellations: the “Furrow” in the eastern sector of Virgo and the “Frond of Erua” in the western sector. The Frond of Erua was depicted as a goddess holding a palm-frond – a motif that still occasionally appears in much later depictions of Virgo.

The Greeks and Romans associated Virgo with their goddess of wheat/agriculture, Demeter-Ceres who is the mother of Persephone-Proserpina. Alternatively, she was sometimes identified as the virgin goddess Iustitia or Astraea, holding the scales of justice in her hand as the constellation Libra.

Another myth identifies Virgo as Erigone, the daughter of Icarius of Athens. Icarius, who had been favoured by Dionysus, was killed by his shepherds while they were intoxicated and Erigone hanged herself in grief; Dionysus placed the father and daughter in the stars as Boötes and Virgo respectively. In the Middle Ages, Virgo was sometimes associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Mercury is the ruling planet of Gemini and Virgo and is exalted in Virgo or Aquarius. For some astrologers Ceres is the ruling planet of Virgo. Ceres, as the Goddess who has control over nature’s resources and cycles, may astrologically be considered the planet of the Environment.

In Roman mythology, Mercury is the messenger of the gods, noted for his speed and swiftness. Echoing this, the scorching, airless world Mercury circles the Sun on the fastest orbit of any planet. Mercury takes only 88 days to orbit the Sun, spending about 7.33 days in each sign of the zodiac. Mercury is so close to the Sun that only a brief period exists after the Sun has set where it can be seen with the naked eye, before following the Sun beyond the horizon.

In mythology, Ceres is the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Demeter, and is the goddess of agriculture. The goddess (and metaphorically the planet) is also associated with the reproductive issues of an adult woman, as well as pregnancy and other major transitions in a woman’s life, including the nine months of gestation time, family bonds and relationships.

Although a mother, Ceres is also the archetype of a virgin goddess. Ceres epitomizes independent women who are often unmarried (since, according to myth, Ceres is an unmarried goddess who chose to become a mother without a husband or partner.) While the moon represents our ideal of “motherhood”, Ceres would represent how our real and nature motherhood should be.

Some astrologers have focused on the theory that in time, all twelve signs of the zodiac will each have their own ruler, so that another two planets have yet to be discovered; namely the “true” rulers of Taurus and Virgo.

The First Point of Aries

The First Point of Aries (also known as the Cusp of Aries) is the location of the vernal equinox, and is named for the constellation of Aries. It is one of the two points on the celestial sphere at which the celestial equator meets the ecliptic plane, the other being the First Point of Libra, located exactly 180° from it. Over its year-long journey through the constellations, the Sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north at the First Point of Aries, and from north to south at the First Point of Libra.

The First Point of Aries is considered to be the celestial “prime meridian” from which right ascensions are calculated. It is so called because, when Hipparchus defined it in 130 BCE, it was located in the western extreme of the constellation of Aries, near its border with Pisces and the star γ Arietis. Due to the Sun’s eastward movement across the sky throughout the year, this western end of Aries was the point at which the Sun entered the constellation, hence the name First Point of Aries.

Due to Earth’s axial precession, this point gradually moves westwards at a rate of about one degree every 72 years. This means that, since the time of Hipparchus, it has shifted across the sky by about 30°, and is currently located within Pisces, near its border with Aquarius. Currently, the closest major star to the First Point of Aries is λ Piscium, located at (23h 42m 03s, 01° 46′ 48″).

Due to the precession of the equinoxes, the astrological signs of the tropical zodiac are likewise identically affected and thus also no longer correspond with the actual constellations once ascribed to them (with the Cusp of Libra now actually located within Virgo), and is the basis for the concept of astrological ages. In sidereal astrology (notably Hindu astrology), by contrast, the first point of Aries remains aligned with Ras Hammel “the head of the ram”, i.e. the Aries constellation.

Due to the effects of precession, the First Point of Libra,  lies within the boundaries of Virgo very close to β Virginis. This is one of the two points in the sky where the celestial equator crosses the ecliptic (the other being the First Point of Aries, now in the constellation of Pisces.) This point will pass into the neighbouring constellation of Leo around the year 2440.

Ishara

Ishara is a pre-Hurrian and perhaps pre-Semitic deities, later incorporated into the Hurrian pantheon. She is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. She first appeared in Ebla and was incorporated to the Hurrian pantheon from which she found her way to the Hittite pantheon. Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. Variants of the name appear as Ašḫara (in a treaty of Naram-Sin of Akkad with Hita of Elam) and Ušḫara (in Ugarite texts). In Ebla, there were various logographic spellings involving the sign AMA “mother”. In Alalah, her name was written with the Akkadogram IŠTAR plus a phonetic complement -ra, as IŠTAR-ra.

Inanna / Ishtar

Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar. In the Epic of Gilgamesh it says: ‘For Ishara the bed is made’ and in Atra-hasis she is called upon to bless the couple on the honeymoon.” Inanna (Akkadian: Ištar) was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna (“The House of Heaven”) temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre.

The deity of this fourth-millennium city was probably originally An. After its dedication to Inanna the temple seems to have housed priestesses of the goddess. The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos or sacred marriage, celebrated during the annual Akitu (New Year) ceremony, at the spring Equinox.

According to Samuel Noah Kramer in The Sacred Marriage Rite, in late Sumerian history (end of the third millennium) kings established their legitimacy by taking the place of Dumuzi in the temple for one night on the tenth day of the New Year festival. A Sacred Marriage to Inanna may have conferred legitimacy on a number of rulers of Uruk.

Hausōs

One of the most important goddesses of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is the personification of dawn as a beautiful young woman. Her name is reconstructed as Hausōs (PIE *hewsṓs- or *hausōs-, an s-stem), besides numerous epithets. Derivatives of *hewsṓs in the historical mythologies of Indo-European peoples include Indian Uṣas, Greek Eos, Latin Aurōra, and Baltic Aušra (“dawn”, c.f. Lithuanian Aušrinė). Germanic *Austrōn- is from an extended stem *hews-tro-.

Pleiades

Ishara was associated with the underworld. Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and she is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars). In the northeastern quadrant of the Taurus constellation lie the Pleiades, one of the best known open clusters, easily visible to the naked eye. The seven most prominent stars in this cluster are at least visual magnitude six, and so the cluster is also named the “Seven Sisters”.

The Babylonian star catalogues name the Pleiades MUL.MUL or “star of stars”, and they head the list of stars along the ecliptic, reflecting the fact that they were close to the point of vernal equinox around the 23rd century BC. The Sebitti are a group of seven minor war gods in Babylonian and Akkadian tradition. They are the children of the god Anu and follow the god Erra into battle. They are, in differing traditions, of good and evil influence.

Gibil in Sumerian mythology is the god of fire, variously of the son of An and Ki, An and Shala or of Ishkur and Shala. He later developed into the Akkadian god Gerra, the Babylonian and Akkadian god of fire. In some versions of the Enûma Eliš Gibil is said to maintain the sharp point of weapons, have broad wisdom, and that his mind is “so vast that all the gods, all of them, cannot fathom it”. Some versions state Gibil, as lord of the fire and the forge, also possesses wisdom of metallurgy.

The Ancient Egyptians may have used the names “Followers” and “Ennead”. In Hinduism, the Pleiades are known as Krittika and are associated with the war-god Kartikeya, also known as Murugan, Skanda and Subramaniyam, who derives his name from them. He is the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the devas. The god is raised by the six Krittika sisters, also known as the Matrikas. Mangala is the name for Mars, the red planet, in Hindu texts. He is the god of war, celibate and sometimes linked to god Karttikeya (Skanda). He is born from Shiva’s sweat or blood drop.

Taurus

Taurus marked the point of vernal (spring) equinox in the Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze Age, from about 4000 BC to 1700 BC, after which it moved into the neighboring constellation Aries. The Pleiades were closest to the Sun at vernal equinox around the 23rd century BC. In Babylonian astronomy, the constellation was listed in the MUL.APIN as GU4.AN.NA, “The Bull of Heaven”. As this constellation marked the vernal equinox, it was also the first constellation in the Babylonian zodiac and they described it as “The Bull in Front”. The Akkadian name was Alu.

Omega

The ruling planet of Libra is Venus. Its name is Latin for weighing scales, and its symbol is the omega shape. In Sumerian mythology, Ninhursag was a mother goddess of the mountains, and one of the seven great deities of Sumer. She is principally a fertility goddess. Temple hymn sources identify her as the ‘true and great lady of heaven’ (possibly in relation to her standing on the mountain) and kings of Sumer were ‘nourished by Ninhursag’s milk’.

Her hair is sometimes depicted in an omega shape, and she at times wears a horned head-dress and tiered skirt, often with bow cases at her shoulders, and not infrequently carries a mace or baton surmounted by an omega motif or a derivation, sometimes accompanied by a lion cub on a leash. She is the tutelary deity to several Sumerian leaders.

Her symbol, resembling the Greek letter omega Ω, has been depicted in art from around 3000 BC, though more generally from the early second millennium BC. It appears on some boundary stones — on the upper tier, indicating her importance. The omega symbol is associated with the Egyptian cow goddess Hathor, and may represent a stylized womb. Hathor is at times depicted on a mountain, so it may be that the two goddesses are connected.

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The feminine and masculine

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 27, 2016

To be man is not enough to be masculine and to be a woman is not enough to be feminine – the man might be feminine and the woman might be masculine – so if it is not about the gender what can then really be said about masculine or femine?

To me it seems to be similar to anima and animus, black and white, ying and yang etc. The swastika used in Buddhist art and scripture is known as a manji (Japanese; whirlwind), and represents Dharma, universal harmony, and the balance of opposites. In China, it is called wan.

It is derived from the Hindu religious swastika, but it is not identical in meaning. Round Manji The Manji is made up of several elements: a vertical axis representing the joining of heaven and earth, a horizontal axis representing the connection of yin and yang, and the four arms, representing movement- the whirling force created by the interaction of these elements.

When facing left, it is the Omote (front facing) Manji, representing love and mercy. Facing right, it represents strength and intelligence, and is called the Ura (rear facing) Manji. In Zen Buddhism, the Manji represents an ideal harmony between love and intellect.

Shakti (yoni) and Shiva (lingam) is united just like Mars and Venus – but they are one – they are the two parts of the coin. The lingam (meaning “sign”, “symbol” or “phallus”), an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity, Shiva, worshipped as a symbol of generative power, is often represented alongside the yoni (meaning “origin”, “source”, “vagina” or “womb”), a symbol of the goddess or of his consort Shakti (Kali), the female creative energy that moves through the entire universe.

Since the late 19th century, some have interpreted the yoni and the lingam as aniconic representations of the vulva and a phallus respectively. The lingam is the transcendental source of all that exists. The lingam united with the yoni represents the nonduality of immanent reality and transcendental potentiality.

Their union represents the “indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates”. Their union represents the eternal process of creation and regeneration. As Shiva is represented as an endless fire, Lingam-yoni denotes origin of an endless fire which created the universe.

Shiva (Śiva, lit. the auspicious one) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. He is worshiped as the supreme god within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is the destroyer within the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity that includes Brahma and Vishnu. In Shaivism tradition, Shiva is the “creator, destroyer and regenerator”.

At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as formless, limitless, transcendent and unchanging absolute Brahman, and the primal Atman (soul, self) of the universe. He is regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts.

Shiva has many benevolent and fearsome depictions. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya. In his fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons.

Kali is worshipped by Hindus throughout India. Kali is also seen as divine protector and the one who bestows moksha, a term in Hinduism and Hindu philosophy which refers to various forms of emancipation, liberation, and release.

In its soteriological and eschatological senses, it refers to freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth. In its epistemological and psychological senses, moksha refers to freedom from ignorance: self-realization and self-knowledge.

In Hindu traditions, moksha is a central concept and included as one of the four aspects and goals of human life; the other three goals are dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life), and kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment). Together, these four aims of life are called Puruṣārtha in Hinduism. The term nirvana is more common in Buddhism, while moksha is more prevalent in Hinduism

The name Kali means Kala or force of time. When there were neither the creation, nor the sun, the moon, the planets, and the earth, there was only darkness and everything was created from the darkness. The Dark appearance of Kali represents the darkness from which everything was born.

Kālī is the feminine form of kālam (“black, dark coloured”). Kālī also shares the meaning of “time”, “one who is time” or “the fullness of time” with the masculine noun “kāla”—and by extension, time as “that which brings all things to life or an end.”

Other names include Kālarātri (“the night of death” or “the night of destruction”), and Kālikā (“the black one”). Kālī is also the feminine form of Kāla, an epithet of Shiva, and thus the consort of Shiva.

The homonymous kāla, “appointed time”, which depending on context can mean “death”, is distinct from kāla “black”, but became associated through popular etymology. The association is seen in a passage from the Mahābhārata, depicting a female figure who carries away the spirits of slain warriors and animals.

She is called kālarātri (which Thomas Coburn, a historian of Sanskrit Goddess literature, translates as “night of death”) and also kālī (which, as Coburn notes, can be read here either as a proper name or as a description “the black one”).

Kali is often shown standing with her right foot on Shiva’s chest. This represents an episode where Kali was out of control on the battlefield, such that she was about to destroy the entire universe. Shiva pacified her by laying down under her foot, both to receive her blessing, but also to pacify and calm her.

As she is also the goddess of Preservation Kali is worshiped as mother to preserve the nature. When Kali is standing calm on Shiva her appearance represents the preservation of mother nature. Her free, long and black hair represents nature’s freedom from civilization.

There are several interpretations of the symbolism behind the commonly represented image of Kali standing on Shiva’s supine form. A common one is that Shiva symbolizes purusha, the universal unchanging aspect of reality, or pure consciousness. Kali represents Prakriti, nature or matter, sometimes seen as having a feminine quality. The merging of these two qualities represent ultimate reality.

A tantric interpretation sees Shiva as consciousness and Kali as power or energy. Consciousness and energy are dependent upon each other, since Shiva depends on Shakti, or energy, in order to fulfill his role in creation, preservation, and destruction. In this view, without Shakti, Shiva is a corpse — unable to act.

In Norse mythology, Týr is a god of war and will take mead, meat and blood for sacrifice. If a warrior carved the rune Tîwaz on his weapon he would be dedicating it to Týr and strengthen the outcome of a battle to be in his favor. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.

There is sketchy evidence of a consort, in German named Zisa: Tacitus mentions one Germanic tribe who worshipped “Isis”, and Jacob Grimm pointed to Cisa/Zisa, the patroness of Augsburg, in this connection. The name Zisa could be derived from Ziu etymologically. This Zisa would be the female consort of Ziu, as Dione was of Zeus.

Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim.

In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance. The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

Scholarly theories have been proposed about Hel’s potential connections to figures appearing in the 11th-century Old English Gospel of Nicodemus and Old Norse Bartholomeus saga postola, that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali or that Hel may have become a being only as a late personification of the location of the same name.

Self realization and training

The two opposites

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Mars og Venus

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 25, 2016

Ama

Ama-gi er et sumerisk ord som har blitt oversatt til “frihet”, samt til “frigi”, som når man frigir en slave, blir fritatt fra gjeld eller obligasjoner, eller blir restaurert til sin opprinnelige status, inkludert av tilgivelse av gjeld. Det kan også bety en tilbakevending til en tidligere tilstand og frigjøring fra gjeld, slaveri, skattlegning og straff.

Ordet stammer fra ama “mor”, samt dativ markøren ar og presenspartisipp gi, som vil si å vende tilbake til eller gjenopprette, noe som tilsammen gir en mening som å vende tilbake til mor. Det har blitt identifisert som den første kjente skriftlige referansen til konseptet frihet. Den tidligste kjente bruken av ordet var reformene til Urukagina ca. 24th century BC.

Ishara

Ishara, en gammel gudinne tilbedt i Syria er en kjærlighetsgudinne ofte identifisert med Ishtar, som regnes som likestilt med sumerernes krigs- og kjærlighetsgudinne Inanna. Varianter av navnet opptrer som IŠTAR sammen med det fonetisk tillegg -ra, som IŠTAR-ra, Ašḫara og Ušḫara. Navnet inkluderer symbolet AMA “mor”.

Hennes hovedtilnavn var belet rame (“kjærlighetsgudinnen”), et tilnavn også brukt om Ishtar. I historien om Gilgamesh står det: “For Ishara er sengen gjort klar” og i Atra-hasis blir hun bedt om å vellsigne parret som gifter seg. Hun ble assosiert med underverden.

Hausos

Hausos er en av de viktigste gudinnene innen rekonstruert proto-indoeuropeisk religion. Det er personifiseringen av morgengryet som en vakker ung kvinne. Avledninger av hewsṓs inkluderer hinduenes Uṣas, grekernes Eos, romernes Aurōra, balternes Aušra, germanernes Austrōn, også kjent som Ēostre eller Ostara.

Navnet er avledet fra en rot *hwes / *au̯es (“å skinne”), og dermed oversatt til Den skinnende en. Både det engelske ordet øst og det latinske auster “sør” er fra det beslektede adjektivet *aws-t(e)ro-. Beslektet er også aurum (“gull”) og navnet for vårsesongen, *wes-r-. Blant hennes tilnavn er * wenos-, hvorfra sanskrit vanas (“skjønnhet, begjær”), brukt av Usha i Rigveda, kommer, det latinske navnet Venus og den norrøne navnet på den ene gruppen av guddommer, vanene.

Navnet indikerer at gudinnen ble forestilt som en vakker kvinne, som også hadde aspekter av et kjærlighetsgudinnen. Dette aspektet ble adskilt fra en personifisering av daggry i en rekke tradisjoner, blant annet Roman Venus vs. Aurora, og greske Afrodite vs. Eos.

Nyttår

Hewsos var involvert i mytologien rundt det indo-europeiske nyttåret, der hun blir frigjort fra fengsel av en gud. Tilfangetagelsen og fengslingen av morgengrygudinnen, samt hennes frigjøring av en heroisk gud som dreper en drage som holder henne fanget, er en sentral myte i indoeuropeisk religion reflektert i mange tradisjoner.

Tammuz (sumerisk: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “trofast sønn”) var navnet på den sumeriake guden for mat og vegetasjon, også dyrket i senere mesopotamiske stater. I Babylonia ble måneden Tammuz etablert til ære for Tammuz, som hadde sin opprinnelse som en sumerisk gjetergud, mannen til Inanna og i hans akkadiske form parallelmannen til Ishtar. Konger etablerte sin legitimitet gjennom å ta plassen til Dumuzi i templet for en natt på den 10-ende dagen for nyttårsfestivalen.

Han var en død-og-gjenoppstandelsesgud som ble tatt til underverden for på den måten å frigjøre Inanna. Der var han seks måneder hvert år. Dette representerer sommer- og vintersolvervet, som skjer, avhengig av kalenderen, mellom den 20.-22. juni i den nordlige hemisfæren og mellom den 20.-23. desember i den sørlige. Denne tiden ble markert med stor sorg hvor man hadde en 6-dagers begravelsesrituale for guden. Man markerte nedgangen i daglys og begynnelsen på drepende sommervarme og tørke.

Adonis (“herre”), som ble brakt videre og inn i gresk mytologi, er en motpart til Tammuz. En annen motpart var Telipinu (“Den opphøyede sønn”), som var en hettitisk jordbruksgud. Balder («herre») er en gud i norrøn mytologi som er assosiert med lys, skjønnhet, kjærlighet, diktning og lykke. Han er sønn av Odin og Frigg og gift med Nanna, som han har sønnen Forsete (“Den ledende” eller «president»), en forsonings- og rettferdighetsgud, sammen med.

Inara i hettit–hurrisk mytologi var gudinnen for de ville dyrene og stormgudens datter. Hun korresponderer med “potnia theron”, bedre kjent som Artemis, innen gresk mytologi. Inaras mor er Hebat, også kjent som Hannahanna. Mytologien rundt Inara og henes mor minner sterkt om den til Demeter og hennes datter Persefone, også kalt Kore eller Cora (“jomfruen”), i gresk mytologi.

Persefone er datter av Zevs og jordbruksgudinnen Demeter, og er dronningen av underverdenen. Hun er beskrevet som en formidabel, ærverdig og majestetisk prinsesse av underverdenen. Hun ble tilfangetatt av Hades, gudekongen av underverdenen.

Myten om hennes bortføring representerer hennes funksjon som en personifisering av vegetasjon som skyter frem om våren og trekker seg tilbake til jorden etter høsting; dermed er hun også assosiert med våren samt fruktbarhet og vegetasjon.

Puruli var en hattitisk vårfestival dedikert til jordgudinnen Hannahanna, som blir giftet med en ny konge, avholdt i Nerik. Det sentrale ritualet under festivalen er ødeleggelsen av dragen Illuyanka av stormguden Teshub. Den kan sammenlignes med det kanaanitiske Poem of Baal og salme 93 og 29.

Den korresponderende mesopotamiske festivalen er Akitu, som i babylonsk religion ble dedikert til Marduks seier over Tiamat. Akitu betyr bygg på sumerisk. Det var opprinnelig to festivaler som feiret begynnelsen for hver av de to halvårene av den sumeriske kalenderen, som markerte såingen av bygg om høsten og kuttingen av bygg om våren.

Usha

Usha (“demring”) er en hinduistisk gudinne. Hun blir ansett for å være datter av Dyaus Pita. Navnet Usha er det samme som PIE *hausos. Usha blir framstilt som en som jager bort onde ånder om natten, og som en vakkert utsmykket ung kvinne som rider i en gullvogn på hennes vei over himmelen. På grunn av hennes farge blir hun ofte identifisert med rødlige kyr, og begge er befridd av Indra fra Vala (“inngjerding”) hulen i tidenes morgen.

I en nyere hinduistisk forståelse, Sri Aurobindo i sin Secret of the Veda, beskriver Usha som oppvåkningens medium, og gjennom henne at man kan oppleve aktiviteten og veksten til de andre gudene og gudinnene. Hun er den første forutsetning til vedisk realisering. Gjennom hennes økende illuminasjon blir menneskets natur åpenbart. Det er gjennom henne at menneskene kommer frem til sannhet, gjennom henne at man kommer til salighet.

Vala er en demon og en steinhule splittet av Indra som er beruset og styrket av soma for å frigjøre kyr og Ushas, gjemt der av Panis (fra paṇi-, en term for “pruter, gnier,” og da spesielt brukt om en som ikke bidrar med hellige ofre), som er en gruppe demoner i Rigveda. Ordet pani blir også brukt om mennesker, selv respekterte medlemmer av samfunnet, som ikke vil dele sin rikdom.

Vala er bror til Vrtra (“den som sperrer”), en steinslange drept av Indra å frigjøre elvene. Historisk har navnet Vala det samme opphav som Vrtra og er avledet fra den samme roten. Den samme roten som Varuna, * ver- / var- (PIE * vel-) “til å dekke, å vedlegge” (kanskje beslektet å slør). Valhall er en anglisert form for det gammelnorske Valhöll, stedet hvor de døde ankom, også kjent som Valhalla.

Navnet Hel har etymologisk samme rot som ordet «(inn)hylle» (norrønt hylja), det vil si tildekket, og personifiseringen av døden i form av en kvinnelig gudinne har antagelig vært en sen utvikling. Hun ble utnevnt som herskerinne i de dødes verden av guden Odin.

Shiva – Kali

Shakti, noen ganger referert til som “Moder Jord”, manifesterer seg via det kvinnelige og via kreativitet/fruktbarhet, men også i menns potensielle, uåpenbarte form. Det er personifiseringen av guds kvinnelige aspekt, den opprinnelige kosmiske energien som representerer de dynamiske kreftene. Shakti både skaper og endrer, transformerer og frigjør.

Shakti er også kjent som Kali, som er konen til Shiva, og som er hovedgudinnen i shaktismen. Kali har ofte blitt representert som stående på sin mann, Shiva, ettersom Shiva ikke vil være i stand til å handle uten Shakti. Shiva symboliserer purusha, det universelle uendrede aspektet, eller en bevissthet, mens Kali representerer Prakriti, som vil si naturen eller det materielle.

Foreningen av disse to kvalitetene representerer den ultimate realitet. Bevissthet og energi er avhengige av hverandre ettersom Shiva avhenger av Shakti, eller energi, for å oppfylle sin rolle når det kommer til å skape, bevare og ødelegge. Foreningen av de to kreftene representerer den udelelige to-i-en av det mannlige og kvinnelige, det passive rommet og den aktive tiden fra hvor alt liv nedstammer.

Lingam, også kjent som Shiva linga, noe som betyr tegn, symbol eller fallos, er en abstrakt eller bilderepresentasjon av den hinduistiske guddom, Shiva, og har en rekke definisjoner som spenner fra symbol til fallos, og er mer spesifikt det genitale organet til Śiva tilbedt i form av en fallos. Det er et symbol på energi og potensialet for Shiva selv.

Lingam blir ofte representert sammen med yoni, som betyr opprinnelse, kilde eller livmor, og er et symbol på gudinnen eller på Shakti (“empower”), som vil si de aktive, dynamiske prinsipper av kvinnelig kreativ skaperkraft som eksisterer rundt om i universet. Dette mens Shiva blir ansett som formløs, grenseløs, oversanslig og uendret.

Ekur / Omfalo

Opprinnelsen til lingam har blitt beskrevet som en uendelig kosmisk søyle av brann, som er årsaken til alle årsaker. Blant sumererne finner vi Ekur, som er der gudene/gudinnene holder sted og som er parallell med Olympus blant grekerne og fjellet hvor templet til Yahweh befant seg. Ekur var denne verdens senter og befant seg der hvor himmel og jord møttes. Enamtila, som betyr livets hus eller skapelsens hus, var en del av Ekur.

Dette igjen minner sterkt om omfalos (“navle”) som er en religiøs steingjenstand, eller baetylus. Omfalos steiner markerer verdens sentrum og ble reist på flere steder rundt Middelhavet. Det ble ansett som et maktobjekt. Dens symbolske referanser inkluderte livmoren, fallos og et glass rødvin som representerer de kongelige blodlinjer.

Tyr – Hel

Shiva er den samme som den germanske guden Týr, som blir assosiert med lov og heroisk ære. Skar en kriger runen Tîwaz på sitt våpen så dedikerte han dette til Týr, som ble ansett som å være den samme som Mars i interpretatio germanica. Symbolet for Mars er det samme som det som symboliserer Tyr. Det symboliserer det maskuline, mens det astronomiske symbolet for Venus er det samme som symboliserer det feminine.

Tirsdag, som på latin er oppkalt etter Mars, er oppkalt etter Tyr. Germanerne feiret Tuisto, som fikk sønnen, Mannus, som igjen fikk tre sønner. Mannaz er det konvensjonelle navnet på m-runen, som stammer fra det rekonstruerte germanske ordet for mann.

Hel er Tyrs kone og kan ha blitt betraktet som en gudinne med potensielle indoeuropeiske paralleller i Bhavani, Kali, og Mahakali. Hun hersker over et rike med samme navn, hvor hun får en del av de døde. Hun blir referert til som en datter av Loke, og å “gå til Hel” er å dø. Hun blir beskrevet som halvparten blå og halvt hudfarget og videre som å ha et dystert, nedslått utseende. Hun representerer med andre ord overgangen, transformasjonen, mellom det døde og levende.

Mars – Venus

Mars representerte militærmakt som en måte å sikre fred, og var en far (pater) av det romerske folket. Han var en krigsgud, men også en gud som passet på jordbruket. De fleste av hans festivaler ble avholdt i Mars, en måned oppkalt etter guden ved samme navn, samt i oktober, som begynte sesongen for militærkampanjer og endte sesongen for jordbruk.

Væren (fra latin Aries) er det første stjernetegnet i Dyrekretsen. Mennesker født mellom 21. mars og 20. april er ifølge astrologien født i Væren. Vekten (Libra) er det syvende stjernetegn i dyrekretsen. Solen beveger seg gjennom Vekten fra midten av september til midten av oktober.

I de mytiske slektsmytene i Roma var Mars, sammen med Rhea Silvia, far til Romulus og Remus. Hans kjærlighetsforhold med Venus forsonet de to ulike tradisjoner for Romas grunnleggelse; Venus var den guddommelige mor til helten Aeneas, feiret som den trojanske flyktning som “grunnla” Roma flere generasjoner før Romulus grunnla bymurene.

Nergal – Ereshkigal

Blant sumererne var Nergal den guden som hadde Mars sin plass. Nergals kone er Ereshkigal (fra Ereš = dronning, frue; Ki = jord; Gal = stor; det vil si «Store frue under jorden»). Ereshkigal er en dødsgudinne og underverdens dronning, et skrekkinnjagende kvinnelig vesen i mesopotamisk mytologi. Stundom er hennes navn oppgitt som Irkalla, navnet på underverden, tilsvarende slik navnet Hades ble benyttet i gresk mytologi for både underverden og dens hersker. Hun var den eneste som kunne dømme og gi lover i sitt rike.

Ereškigal er søster og motpart til krigs- og kjærlighetsgudinnen Inanna. Hun er symbolet på naturen i løpet av den uproduktive sesongen i året. Ifølge doktrinen om de to kongedømmene er de to domenene til de to søstrene avgrenset ettersom den ene verden er de levendes verden, mens den andre er de dødes, som samtidig vil si at den ene verden er den værende, mens den andre er det som ennå ikke har blitt født, eller den ene er den bevisste del, mens den andre er det ubevisste.

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Mars and Venus

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 25, 2016

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.

In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.

Mars is named after the Roman god of war. In different cultures, Mars represents masculinity and youth. Its symbol, a circle with an arrow pointing out to the upper right, is used as a symbol for the male gender.

The astronomical symbol for Venus is the same as that used in biology for the female sex: a circle with a small cross beneath. The Venus symbol also represents femininity, and in Western alchemy stood for the metal copper.

Aries (meaning “ram”) is the first astrological sign in the zodiac, spanning the first 30 degrees of celestial longitude (0°≤ λ <30°). Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun enters the sign of Aries when it reaches the northern vernal equinox, mostly between March 21 and April 19 each year.

The symbol of the ram is based on the Chrysomallus, the flying ram that provided the Golden Fleece of the gold-hair winged ram, which was held in Colchis. The fleece is a symbol of authority and kingship.

In the description of the Babylonian zodiac given in the clay tablets known as the MUL.APIN, a comprehensive table of the risings and settings of stars, which likely served as an agricultural calendar, the constellation now known as Aries was the final station along the ecliptic.

Modern-day Aries was known as MULLÚ.ḪUN.GÁ, “The Agrarian Worker” or “The Hired Man”. Although likely compiled in the 11th century BC, the MUL.APIN reflects a tradition which marks the Pleiades as the vernal equinox, which was the case with some precision at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age.

The earliest identifiable reference to Aries as a distinct constellation comes from the boundary stones that date from 1350 to 1000 BC. On several boundary stones, a zodiacal ram figure is distinct from the other characters present. The shift in identification from the constellation as the Agrarian Worker to the Ram likely occurred in later Babylonian tradition because of its growing association with Dumuzi the Shepherd.

By the time the MUL.APIN was created—by 1000 BC—modern Aries was identified with both Dumuzi’s ram and a hired laborer. The exact timing of this shift is difficult to determine due to the lack of images of Aries or other ram figures.

In ancient Egyptian astronomy, Aries was associated with the god Amon-Ra, who was depicted as a man with a ram’s head and represented fertility and creativity. Because it was the location of the vernal equinox, it was called the “Indicator of the Reborn Sun”.

During the times of the year when Aries was prominent, priests would process statues of Amon-Ra to temples, a practice that was modified by Persian astronomers centuries later. Aries acquired the title of “Lord of the Head” in Egypt, referring to its symbolic and mythological importance.

Libra is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 180–210th degree of the zodiac, between 180 and 207.25 degree of celestial longitude. According to the Tropical system of astrology, the Sun enters the sign of Libra when it reaches the southern vernal equinox, which occurs around September 22.

The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. She became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice. The ruling planet of Libra is Venus.

Omega is the 24th and last letter of the Greek alphabet. In the Greek numeric system, it has a value of 800. The word literally means “great O” (ō mega, mega meaning ‘great’), as opposed to omicron, which means “little O” (o mikron, micron meaning “little”).

In Sumerian mythology, Ninhursag was a mother goddess of the mountains, and one of the seven great deities of Sumer. She is principally a fertility goddess. Temple hymn sources identify her as the ‘true and great lady of heaven’ (possibly in relation to her standing on the mountain) and kings of Sumer were ‘nourished by Ninhursag’s milk’. She is the tutelary deity to several Sumerian leaders.

Her hair is sometimes depicted in an omega shape, and she at times wears a horned head-dress and tiered skirt, often with bow cases at her shoulders, and not infrequently carries a mace or baton surmounted by an omega motif or a derivation, sometimes accompanied by a lion cub on a leash.

Her symbol, resembling the Greek letter omega Ω, has been depicted in art from around 3000 BC, though more generally from the early second millennium BC. It appears on some boundary stones — on the upper tier, indicating her importance. The omega symbol is associated with the Egyptian cow goddess Hathor, and may represent a stylized womb. Hathor is at times depicted on a mountain, so it may be that the two goddesses are connected.

Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis. Inara’s mother is probably Hebat and her brother is Sarruma.

The mother goddess Hannahannah promises Inara land and a man during a consultation by Inara. Inara then disappears. Her father looks for her, joined by Hannahannah with a bee. The story resembles that of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, in Greek myth.

Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. In the classical period of Greek mythology, Artemis was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo.

Some scholars believe that the name, and indeed the goddess herself, was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: “Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals”. The Arcadians believed she was the daughter of Demeter.

She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.

Dyēus is believed to have been the chief deity in the religious traditions of the prehistoric Proto-Indo-European societies. Part of a larger pantheon, he was the god of the daylight sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in society. In his aspect as a father god, his consort would have been Pltwih Méhter, “earth mother”.

This deity is not directly attested; rather, scholars have reconstructed this deity from the languages and cultures of later Indo-European peoples such as the Greeks, Latins, and Indo-Aryans. According to this scholarly reconstruction, Dyeus was addressed as Dyeu Phter, literally “sky father” or “shining father”, as reflected in Latin Iūpiter, Diēspiter, possibly Dis Pater and deus pater, Greek Zeu pater, Sanskrit Dyàuṣpítaḥ.

As the pantheons of the individual mythologies related to the Proto-Indo-European religion evolved, attributes of Dyeus seem to have been redistributed to other deities. In Greek and Roman mythology, Dyeus remained the chief god; however, in Vedic mythology, the etymological continuant of Dyeus became a very abstract god, and his original attributes and dominance over other gods appear to have been transferred to gods such as Agni or Indra.

The deity’s original domain was over the daylit sky, and indeed reflexes emphasise this connection to light: Istanu (Tiyaz) is a solar deity. Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known as Tiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.

Helios is often referred to as the “eye of Zeus”, in Romanian paganism the Sun is similarly called “God’s eye” and in Indo-Iranian tradition Surya/Hvare-khshaeta is similarly associated with Ahura Mazda. Even in Roman tradition, Jupiter often is only associated with diurnal lightning at most, while Summanus is a deity responsible for nocturnal lightning or storms as a whole.

Although some of the more iconic reflexes of Dyeus are storm deities, such as Zeus and Jupiter, this is thought to be a late development exclusive to mediterranean traditions, probably derived from syncretism with canaanite deities and Perkwunos.

Rooted in the related but distinct Indo-European word *deiwos is the Latin word for deity, deus. The Latin word is also continued in English divine, “deity”, and the original Germanic word remains visible in “Tuesday” (“Day of Tīwaz”) and Old Norse tívar, which may be continued in the toponym Tiveden (“Wood of the Gods”, or of Týr).

Týr is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.

The t-rune ᛏ is named after Týr, and was identified with this god; the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name is *Tîwaz. The rune is sometimes also referred to as *Teiwaz, or spelling variants.

According to Tacitus’s Germania (98 CE), “In their ancient songs, their only form of recorded history, the Germans celebrate the earth-born god, Tuisto. They assign to him a son, Mannus, the author of their race, and to Mannus three sons…”.

*Mannaz is the conventional name of the m-rune ᛗ of the Elder Futhark. It is derived from the reconstructed Common Germanic word for “man”, *mannaz.

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Týr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion.

It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

The Germania manuscript corpus by Tacitus contains two primary variant readings of the name. The most frequently occurring, Tuisto, is commonly connected to the Proto-Germanic root tvai (“two”) and its derivative tvis (“twice”; “doubled”).

Allusions to intersex is entirely conjectural, as the tvia/tvis roots are also the roots of any number of other concepts/words in the Germanic languages. Take for instance the Germanic “twist”, which, in all but the English has the primary meaning of “dispute/conflict”.

The second variant of the name, occurring originally in manuscript E, is Tuisco (sometimes rendered Tuiscon). One proposed etymology for this variant reconstructs a Proto-Germanic tiwisko, and connects this with Proto-Germanic Tiwaz, yielded the meaning “son of Tiu”. This interpretation implies that Tuisco is the son of the sky god (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus) and the earth-goddess.

Gemini is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It was one of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd century AD astronomer Ptolemy and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations today. Its name is Latin for “twins,” and it is associated with the twins Castor and Pollux in Greek mythology.

In Babylonian astronomy, the stars Castor and Pollux were known as the Great Twins (MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL). The Twins were regarded as minor gods and were called Meshlamtaea and Lugalirra, meaning respectively ‘The One who has arisen from the Underworld’ and the ‘Mighty King’. Both names can be understood as titles of Nergal, the major Babylonian god of plague and pestilence, who was king of the Underworld.

Nergal was a deity worshipped throughout Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia) with the main seat of his worship at Cuthah represented by the mound of Tell-Ibrahim. He is a son of Enlil and Ninlil, along with Nanna and Ninurta.

Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle. He has also been called “the king of sunset”.

Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld supposed to be a large subterranean cave known as Aralu or Irkalla). In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.

Ereshkigal (EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”) was the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal, lit. “Great Lady of the Earth” or “Lady of the Great Earth”. Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom. The main temple dedicated to her was located in Kutha.

The goddess Ishtar refers to Ereshkigal as her older sister in the Sumerian hymn “The Descent of Inanna” (which was also in later Babylonian myth, also called “The Descent of Ishtar”). According to the doctrine of two kingdoms[clarification needed], the dominions of the two sisters are sharply differentiated, as one is of this world and one of the world of the dead.

Nergal has epithets such as the “raging king,” the “furious one,” and the like. In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars) – hence the current name of the planet.

Nergal’s chief temple at Cuthah bore the name Meslam, from which the god receives the designation of Meslamtaeda or Meslamtaea, “the one that rises up from Meslam”. The name Meslamtaeda/Meslamtaea indeed is found as early as the list of gods from Fara while the name Nergal only begins to appear in the Akkadian period.

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.

Týr is a god of war and will take mead, meat and blood for sacrifice. If a warrior carved the rune Tîwaz on his weapon he would be dedicating it to Týr and strengthen the outcome of a battle to be in his favor. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.

There is sketchy evidence of a consort, in German named Zisa: Tacitus mentions one Germanic tribe who worshipped “Isis”, and Jacob Grimm pointed to Cisa/Zisa, the patroness of Augsburg, in this connection. The name Zisa could be derived from Ziu etymologically. This Zisa would be the female consort of Ziu, as Dione was of Zeus.

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim.

In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance. The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

Scholarly theories have been proposed about Hel’s potential connections to figures appearing in the 11th-century Old English Gospel of Nicodemus and Old Norse Bartholomeus saga postola, that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali or that Hel may have become a being only as a late personification of the location of the same name.

Kālī is the feminine form of kālam (“black, dark coloured”). Kālī also shares the meaning of “time”, “one who is time” or “the fullness of time” with the masculine noun “kāla”—and by extension, time as “that which brings all things to life or an end.” Other names include Kālarātri (“the night of death” or “the night of destruction”), and Kālikā (“the black one”).

Kali is also seen as divine protector and the one who bestows moksha, or liberation. Kali is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her. Kali is worshipped by Hindus throughout India.

Mangala is the name for Mars, the red planet, in Hindu texts. He is the god of war, celibate and sometimes linked to god Karttikeya (Skanda). His origins vary with different mythological texts; in some, he is the son of Bhumi, the Earth Goddess and Vishnu, born when he raised her from the depths of water in Varaha avatar. In other myths, he is born from Shiva’s sweat or blood drop.

Rudra is a Rigvedic deity, associated with wind or storm, and the hunt. The name has been translated as “the roarer”. In the Rigveda, Rudra has been praised as the “mightiest of the mighty”. Shiva shares several features with the Rudra. The name Rudra has been taken as a synonym for the god Shiva and the two names are used interchangeably.

Some authors associate the name with the Tamil word śivappu meaning “red”, noting that Shiva is linked to the Sun (śivan, “the Red one”, in Tamil) and that Rudra is also called Babhru (brown, or red) in the Rigveda.

Haldi, also known as Khaldi or Hayk, was one of the three chief deities of Urartu (Ararat). The other two chief deities were the weather-god, notably the god of storms and thunder, Theispas of Kumenu, and the solar god Shivini of Tushpa.

Of all the gods of the Urartian pantheon, the most inscriptions are dedicated to Khaldi. His wife was the goddess Arubani. He was portrayed as a man with or without wings, standing on a lion. He was a warrior god whom the kings of Urartu would pray to for victories in battle. The temples dedicated to Khaldi were adorned with weapons, such as swords, spears, bows and arrows, and shields hung off the walls and were sometimes known as ‘the house of weapons’.

The Lingam (meaning sign, symbol or phallus) is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity, Shiva, used for worship in temples, smaller shrines, or as self-manifested natural objects. In traditional Indian society, the lingam is seen as a symbol of the energy and potential of Shiva himself.

The lingam is often represented alongside the yoni (Sanskrit word, literally “origin” or “source” or “womb”), a symbol of the goddess or of Shakti, female creative energy. The union of lingam and yoni represents the “indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates”.

To the Egyptians, the frog was a symbol of life and fertility, since millions of them were born after the annual inundation of the Nile, which brought fertility to the otherwise barren lands. Consequently, in Egyptian mythology, there began to be a frog-goddess, who represented fertility, referred to by Egyptologists as Heqet (also Heqat, Hekit, Heket etc., more rarely Hegit, Heget etc.), written with the determinative frog.

Heqet was usually depicted as a frog, or a woman with a frog’s head, or more rarely as a frog on the end of a phallus to explicitly indicate her association with fertility. She was often referred to as the wife of Khnum, one of the earliest Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile River, and the third aspect of Ra, who was identified primarily with the noon sun.

Ra was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the earth, and the underworld. He was associated with the falcon or hawk. The cult of the Mnevis bull, an embodiment of Ra, had its center in Heliopolis and there was a formal burial ground for the sacrificed bulls north of the city. All forms of life were believed to have been created by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret names. Alternatively man was created from Ra’s tears and sweat, hence the Egyptians call themselves the “Cattle of Ra.”

In the myth of the Celestial Cow it is recounted how mankind plotted against Ra and how he sent his eye as the goddess Sekhmet to punish them. When she became bloodthirsty she was pacified by drinking beer mixed with red dye.

Since the annual flooding of the Nile brought with it silt and clay, and its water brought life to its surroundings, Khnum was thought to be the creator of the bodies of human children, which he made at a potter’s wheel, from clay, and placed in their mothers’ wombs. He later was described as having moulded the other deities, and he had the titles Divine Potter and Lord of created things from himself.

Khnum is the god of rebirth, creation and the evening sun, although this is usually the function of Atum. Khnum has also been related to the deity Min, who was represented in many different forms, but was often represented in male human form, shown with an erect penis which he holds in his left hand and an upheld right arm holding a flail. As Khem or Min, he was the god of reproduction; as Khnum, he was the creator of all things, “the maker of gods and men”.

Hecate is a goddess in Ancient Greek religion and mythology, most often shown holding two torches or a key and in later periods depicted in triple form. She was variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, light, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery.

She appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod’s Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess. She was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family.

In the post-Christian writings of the Chaldean Oracles (2nd–3rd century CE) she was regarded with (some) rulership over earth, sea and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul.

A mother goddess is a goddess who represents, or is a personification of nature, motherhood, fertility, creation, destruction or who embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world, such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.

One of the most important goddesses of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is the personification of dawn as a beautiful young woman. Her name is reconstructed as Hausōs (PIE *hewsṓs- or *hausōs-, an s-stem), besides numerous epithets.

Derivatives of *h₂ewsṓs in the historical mythologies of Indo-European peoples include Indian Uṣas, Greek Ēōs, Latin Aurōra, and Baltic Aušra (“dawn”, c.f. Lithuanian Aušrinė). Germanic *Austrōn- is from an extended stem *h₂ews-tro-.

The name *hewsṓs is derived from a root *hwes / *au̯es “to shine”, thus translating to “the shining one”. Both the English word east and the Latin auster “south” are from a root cognate adjective *aws-t(e)ro-. Also cognate is aurum “gold”, from *awso-. The name for “spring season”, *wes-r- is also from the same root.

Besides the name most amenable to reconstruction, *h₂ewsṓs, a number of epithets of the dawn goddess may be reconstructed with some certainty. Among these is *wenos- (also an s-stem), whence Sanskrit vanas “loveliness; desire”, used of Uṣas in the Rigveda, and the Latin name Venus and the Norse Vanir.

The name indicates that the goddess was imagined as a beautiful nubile woman, who also had aspects of a love goddess. The love goddess aspect was separated from the personification of dawn in a number of traditions, including Roman Venus vs. Aurora, and Greek Aphrodite vs. Eos.

The name of Aphrodite Άφροδίτη may still preserve her role as a dawn goddess, etymologized as “she who shines from the foam [ocean]” (from aphros “foam” and deato “to shine”). It has also proposed an etymology based on the connection with the Indo-European dawn goddess, from *abhor- “very” and *dhei “to shine”. Other epithets include Erigone “early-born” in Greek.

The Italic goddess Mater Matuta “Mother Morning” has been connected to Aurora by Roman authors (Lucretius, Priscianus). Her festival, the Matralia, fell on 11 June, beginning at dawn.

The dawn goddess was also the goddess of spring, involved in the mythology of the Indo-European new year, where the dawn goddess is liberated from imprisonment by a god (reflected in the Rigveda as Indra, in Greek mythology as Dionysus and Cronus).

The abduction and imprisonment of the dawn goddess, and her liberation by a heroic god slaying the dragon who imprisons her, is a central myth of Indo-European religion, reflected in numerous traditions. Most notably, it is the central myth of the Rigveda, a collection of hymns surrounding the Soma rituals dedicated to Indra in the new year celebrations of the early Indo-Aryans.

Ishara (išḫara) is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. Variants of the name appear as Ašḫara (in a treaty of Naram-Sin of Akkad with Hita of Elam) and Ušḫara (in Ugarite texts). In Ebla, there were various logographic spellings involving the sign AMA “mother”. In Alalah, her name was written with the Akkadogram IŠTAR plus a phonetic complement -ra, as IŠTAR-ra.

She first appeared in Ebla and was incorporated to the Hurrian pantheon from which she found her way to the Hittite pantheon. In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. Her cult was of considerable importance in Ebla from the mid 3rd millennium. Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath.

Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar. In the Epic of Gilgamesh it says: ‘For Ishara the bed is made’ and in Atra-hasis (I 301-304) she is called upon to bless the couple on the honeymoon.”

Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. The deity of this fourth-millennium city was probably originally An. After its dedication to Inanna the temple seems to have housed priestesses of the goddess.

When Enlil rose to equal or surpass An in authority, the functions of the two deities came to some extent to overlap. An was also sometimes equated with Amurru, and, in Seleucid Uruk, with Enmešara and Dumuzi. Enmesarra, or Enmešarra, in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology is an underworld god of the law. Described as a Sun god, protector of flocks and vegetation, and therefore he has been equated with Nergal. On the other hand, he has been described as an ancestor of Enlil, and it has been claimed that Enlil slew him.

Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The House of Heaven (Sumerian: E.AN) temple in Uruk.

According to Leick 1994 persons of asexual or hermaphroditic bodies and feminine men were particularly involved in the worship and ritual practices of Inanna’s temples.

The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos or sacred marriage, celebrated during the annual Akitu (New Year) ceremony, at the spring Equinox.

According to Samuel Noah Kramer in The Sacred Marriage Rite, in late Sumerian history (end of the third millennium) kings established their legitimacy by taking the place of Dumuzi in the temple for one night on the tenth day of the New Year festival.

A Sacred Marriage to Inanna may have conferred legitimacy on a number of rulers of Uruk. Gilgamesh is reputed to have refused marriage to Inanna, on the grounds of her misalliance with such kings as Lugalbanda and Damuzi.

Inanna was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Dumuzi was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries.

Tammuz (Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”) was the name of a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, also worshiped in the later Mesopotamian states. In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar.

The Levantine (“lord”) Adonis, who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, was considered by Joseph Campbell among others to be another counterpart of Tammuz, son and consort.

Beginning with the summer solstice came a time of mourning in the Ancient Near East, as in the Aegean: the Babylonians marked the decline in daylight hours and the onset of killing summer heat and drought with a six-day “funeral” for the god.

Recent discoveries reconfirm him as an annual life-death-rebirth deity: tablets discovered in 1963 show that Dumuzi was in fact consigned to the Underworld himself, in order to secure Inanna’s release, though the recovered final line reveals that he is to revive for six months of each year.

Ekur is a Sumerian term meaning “mountain house”. It is the assembly of the gods in the Garden of the gods, parallel in Greek mythology to Mount Olympus and was the most revered and sacred building of ancient Sumer.

In the Hymn to Enlil, the Ekur is closely linked to Enlil whilst in Enlil and Ninlil it is the abode of the Annanuki, from where Enlil is banished. The fall of Ekur is described in the Lament for Ur. In mythology, the Ekur was the centre of the earth and location where heaven and earth were united.

It is also known as Duranki and one of its structures is known as the Kiur (“great place”). Enamtila, a Sumerian term meaning “house of life” or possibly “house of creation”, has also been suggested by Piotr Michalowski to be a part of the Ekur.

A hymn to Nanna illustrates the close relationship between temples, houses and mountains. “In your house on high, in your beloved house, I will come to live, O Nanna, up above in your cedar perfumed mountain”. This was carried-on into later tradition in the Bible by the prophet Micah who envisions “the mountain of the temple of Yahweh”.

The Ekur was seen as a place of judgement and the place from which Enlil’s divine laws are issued. The ethics and moral values of the site are extolled in myths, which Samuel Noah Kramer suggested would have made it the most ethically-oriented in the entire ancient Near East. Its rituals are also described as: “banquets and feasts are celebrated from sunrise to sunset” with “festivals, overflowing with milk and cream, are alluring of plan and full of rejoicing”.

The priests of the Ekur festivities are described with en being the high priest, lagar as his associate, mues the leader of incantations and prayers, and guda the priest responsible for decoration. Sacrifices and food offerings were brought by the king, described as “faithful shepherd” or “noble farmer”.

An omphalos is a religious stone artifact, or baetylus. In Greek, the word omphalos means “navel”. In Greek lore, Zeus sent two eagles across the world to meet at its center, the “navel” of the world.

Omphalos stones marking the centre were erected in several places about the Mediterranean Sea. The omphalos was considered an object of power. Its symbolic references included the uterus, the phallus, and a cup of red wine representing royal blood lines.

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Places linked to Hel in Norway

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2016

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HERE

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The Queen of the Night

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2016

The war / transformation goddess

Inanna – Tammuz

Cybele – Attis

Ereshkigal – Nergal

Kali – Shiva

Hel – Tyr

Inanna is the goddess of love. She also is one of the Sumerian war deities: “She stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance. It is her game to speed conflict and battle, untiring, strapping on her sandals.” Battle itself is sometimes referred to as “the dance of Inanna.”

Inanna (or Ishtar) was freed by gallu demons sent by Enki while she was on a journey to the underworld. The Gallus (also called gallu demons or gallas) were great demons / devils of the underworld. Gallu demons hauled unfortunate victims off to the underworld. They were one of seven devils (or “the offspring of hell”) of Babylonian theology that could be appeased by the sacrifice of a lamb at their altars. The word gallu may also refer to a human adversary, one that is dangerous and implacable.

A Gallus (pl. Galli) was a eunuch priest of the Phrygian goddess Cybele and her consort Attis, whose worship was incorporated into the state religious practices of ancient Rome. Roman citizens were prohibited from becoming Galli, which meant that all the Galli were orientals or slaves. The Galli castrated themselves during an ecstatic celebration called the Dies sanguinis, or “Day of Blood”, which took place on March 24.

At the same time they put on women’s costume, mostly yellow in colour, and a sort of turban, together with pendants and ear-rings. They also wore their hair long, and bleached, and wore heavy make-up. They wandered around with followers, begging for charity, in return for which they were prepared to tell fortunes. On the day of mourning for Attis they ran around wildly and disheveled. They performed dances to the music of pipes and tambourines, and, in an ecstasy, flogged themselves until they bled.

It has been suggested that gallu comes from the Sumerian Gal meaning “great” and Lu meaning “man”, humans or sexually ambivalent demons that freed Inanna from the underworld. They originally seem to have been consecrated to the god Enki.

The term Gallus is also a multiple pun in Latin, meaning a Gaul, or a rooster, as well as a castrated priest. Nergal was a deity worshipped throughout Mesopotamia. Nergal is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the deity of the city of Cuth (Cuthah). According to the rabbins, his emblem was a cock and Nergal means a “dunghill cock”, although standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion.

In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars)—hence the current name of the planet.

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.

Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle. He has also been called “the king of sunset”.

Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.

Ereshkigal (EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”) was the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal, lit. “Great Lady of the Earth” or “Lady of the Great Earth”. She was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom. The main temple dedicated to her was located in Kutha.

The goddess Ishtar refers to Ereshkigal as her older sister in the Sumerian hymn “The Descent of Inanna” (which was also in later Babylonian myth, also called “The Descent of Inanna”), a hymn about Inanna’s trip and return to the underworld.

Ereshkigal is the sister and counterpart of Inanna/Ishtar, the symbol of nature during the non-productive season of the year. According to the doctrine of two kingdoms, the dominions of the two sisters are sharply differentiated, as one is of this world and one of the world of the dead.

There was a category of Mesopotamian priests called kalu; in Sumerian gala. These priests played the tympanum and were involved in bull sacrifice. Another category of Mesopotamian priests called assinnu, galatur, and kurgarru had a sacred function. These transgender or eunuch priests participated in liturgical rites, during which they were costumed and masked. They played music, sang, and danced, most often in ceremonies dedicated to the goddess Inanna.

The Gala (Akkadian: kalû) were priests of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, significant numbers of the personnel of both temples and palaces, the central institutions of Mesopotamian city states, individuals with neither male nor female gender identities.

Originally a specialist in singing lamentations, gala appear in temple records dating back from the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. According to an old Babylonian text, Enki created the gala specifically to sing “heart-soothing laments” for the goddess Inanna. Cuniform references indicate the gendered character of the role.

Lamentation and wailing originally may have been female professions, so that men who entered the role adopted its forms. Their hymns were sung in a Sumerian dialect known as eme-sal (lit. “women’s tongue”), normally used to render the speech of female gods, and some gala took female names.

Homosexual proclivities are clearly implied by the Sumerian proverb that reads, “When the gala wiped off his anus [he said], ‘I must not arouse that which belongs to my mistress [i.e., Inanna]’”. In fact, the word gala was written using the sign sequence UŠ.KU, the first sign having also the reading giš (“penis”), and the second one dur (“anus”), so perhaps there is some pun involved.

Moreover, gala is homophonous with gal-la “vulva”. However, in spite of all their references of their effeminate character (especially in the Sumerian proverbs), many administrative texts mention gala priests who had children, wives, and large families. On the other hand, some gala priests were actually women.

Kālī, also known as Kālikā, is a Hindu goddess. Kālī is the feminine form of kālam (“black, dark coloured”). Kālī also shares the meaning of “time”, “one who is time” or “the fullness of time” with the masculine noun “kāla”—and by extension, time as “that which brings all things to life or an end.” Other names include Kālarātri (“the night of death” or “the night of destruction”), and Kālikā (“the black one”).

Mahakali, literally translated as Great Kali, is sometimes considered as a greater form of Kali, identified with the Ultimate reality of Brahman. It can also be used as an honorific of the Goddess Kali, signifying her greatness by the prefix “Mahā-“. Mahakali, in Sanskrit, is etymologically the feminized variant of Mahakala or Great Time (which is interpreted also as Death), an epithet of the God Shiva in Hinduism.

Kali is one of the ten Mahavidyas, a list which combines Sakta and Buddhist goddesses. Her earliest appearance is that of a destroyer principally of evil forces. She is the goddess of one of the four subcategories of the Kulamārga, a category of tantric Saivism. Over time, she has been worshipped by devotional movements and tantric sects variously as the Divine Mother, Mother of the Universe, Adi Shakti, or Adi Parashakti. Shakta Hindu and Tantric sects additionally worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also seen as divine protector and the one who bestows moksha, or liberation.

Kali is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her. The pose shows the conclusion of an episode in which Kali was rampaging out of control after destroying many demons. Shiva, fearing that Kali would not stop until she destroyed the world, could only think of one way to pacify her. He lay down on the battlefield so that she would have to step on him. Seeing her consort under her foot, Kali realized that she had gone too far, and calmed down.

Kali is worshipped by Hindus throughout India. In relation to Siva, she [Kali] appears to play the opposite role from that of Parvati. Parvati calms Siva, counterbalancing his antisocial or destructive tendencies; she brings him within the sphere of domesticity and with her soft glances urges him to moderate the destructive aspects of his tandavadance. Kali is Shiva’s “other wife,” as it were, provoking him and encouraging him in his mad, antisocial, disruptive habits. It is never Kali who tames Siva, but Siva who must calm Kali.

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. Scholarly theories have been proposed about Hel’s potential connections to figures appearing in the 11th-century Old English Gospel of Nicodemus and Old Norse Bartholomeus saga postola, that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali or that Hel may have become a being only as a late personification of the location of the same name.

Mars

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.

The spear is the instrument of Mars in the same way that Jupiter wields the lightning bolt, Neptune the trident, and Saturn the scythe or sickle. A relic or fetish called the spear of Mars was kept in a sacrarium at the Regia, the former residence of the Kings of Rome. The spear was said to move, tremble or vibrate at impending war or other danger to the state, as was reported to occur before the assassination of Julius Caesar. When Mars is pictured as a peace-bringer, his spear is wreathed with laurel or other vegetation, as on the Ara Pacis or a coin of Aemilianus.

Mars was a part of the Archaic Triad along with Jupiter and Quirinus, the latter of whom as a guardian of the Roman people had no Greek equivalent. Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares, whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art under the name of Mars.

Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people. In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.

Although Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, Mars was the son of Juno alone. Jupiter had usurped the mother’s function when he gave birth to Minerva directly from his forehead (or mind); to restore the balance, Juno sought the advice of the goddess Flora on how to do the same. Flora obtained a magic flower (Latin flos, plural flores, a masculine word) and tested it on a heifer who became fecund at once. She then plucked a flower ritually using her thumb, touched Juno’s belly, and impregnated her. Juno withdrew to Thrace and the shore of Marmara for the birth.

Ovid tells this story in the Fasti, his long-form poetic work on the Roman calendar. It may explain why the Matronalia, a festival celebrated by married women in honor of Juno as a goddess of childbirth, occurred on the first day of Mars’ month, which is also marked on a calendar from late antiquity as the birthday of Mars. In the earliest Roman calendar, March was the first month, and the god would have been born with the new year.

Nerio

The consort of Mars was Nerio or Nerine, “Valor.” In ancient Roman religion and myth, Nerio was an ancient war goddess and the personification of valor. She was the partner of Mars in ancient cult practices. Spoils taken from enemies were sometimes dedicated to Nerio by the Romans.

Nerio represents the vital force (vis), power (potentia) and majesty (maiestas) of Mars. Her name was regarded as Sabine in origin and is equivalent to Latin virtus, “manly virtue” (from vir, “man”).

In the early 3rd century BC, the comic playwright Plautus has a reference to Mars greeting Nerio, his wife. A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Nerine were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23.

Nerio probably originates as a divine personification of Mars’ power, as such abstractions in Latin are generally feminine. Her name appears with that of Mars in an archaic prayer invoking a series of abstract qualities, each paired with the name of a deity. The influence of Greek mythology and its anthropomorphic gods may have caused Roman writers to treat these pairs as “marriages.”

Nerio was later supplanted by mythologized deities appropriated and adapted from other religions. She was sometimes identified with the goddess Bellona, and occasionally with the goddess Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy.

Minerva was born with weapons from the head of Jupiter. After impregnating the titaness Metis, Jupiter recalled a prophecy that his own child would overthrow him. Fearing that their child would grow stronger than he and rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole.

The titaness forged weapons and armor for her child while within the father-god, and the constant pounding and ringing gave him a headache. To relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter’s head and, from the cleft, Minerva emerged, whole, adult, and bearing her mother’s weapons and armor.

Metis was of the Titan generation and, like several primordial figures, an Oceanid, in the sense that Metis was born of Oceanus and his sister Tethys, of an earlier age than Zeus and his siblings. Metis was the first great spouse of Zeus, and also his cousin. Zeus is himself titled Mêtieta, “the wise counsellor,” in the Homeric poems.

While the sea-divinities Tethys and Oceanus were formerly represented in Roman-era mosaics, they were replaced at a later period by the figure of Thalassa, especially in Western Asia. There she was depicted as a woman clothed in bands of seaweed and half submerged in the sea, with the crab-claw horns that were formerly an attribute of Oceanus now transferred to her head. In one hand she holds a ship’s oar, and in the other a dolphin.

Tiamat was later known as Thalattē (as a variant of thalassa, the Greek word for “sea”) in the Hellenistic Babylonian writer Berossus’ first volume of universal history. It is thought that the name of Tiamat was dropped in secondary translations of the original religious texts (written in the East Semitic Akkadian language) because some Akkadian copyists of Enûma Elish substituted the ordinary word for “sea” for Tiamat, since the two names had become essentially the same due to association.

Thorkild Jacobsen and Walter Burkert both argue for a connection with the Akkadian word for sea, tâmtu, following an early form, ti’amtum. Burkert continues by making a linguistic connection to Tethys. He finds the later form, thalatth, to be related clearly to Greek thalatta or thalassa, “sea”.

By the era of Greek philosophy in the fifth century BC, Metis had become the mother of wisdom and deep thought, but her name originally connoted “magical cunning” and was as easily equated with the trickster powers of Prometheus as with the “royal metis” of Zeus. The Stoic commentators allegorised Metis as the embodiment of “prudence”, “wisdom” or “wise counsel”, in which form she was inherited by the Renaissance.

The Greek word metis meant a quality that combined wisdom and cunning. This quality was considered to be highly admirable in the Mycenean era, with the hero Odysseus being the embodiment of it. In the Classical era, it was regarded by Athenians as one of the notable characteristics of the Athenian character. Metis was the one who gave Zeus a potion to cause Cronus to vomit out Zeus’ siblings.

Metis was both a threat to Zeus and an indispensable aid. Zeus lay with Metis but immediately feared the consequences. It had been prophesied that Metis would bear extremely powerful children: the first, Athena and the second, a son more powerful than Zeus himself, who would eventually overthrow Zeus.

In order to forestall these dire consequences, Zeus tricked her into turning herself into a fly and promptly swallowed her. He was too late: Metis had already conceived a child. In time she began making a helmet and robe for her fetal daughter.

The hammering as she made the helmet caused Zeus great pain, and Hephaestus either clove Zeus’s head with an axe, or hit it with a hammer at the river Triton, giving rise to Athena’s birth. Athena leaped from Zeus’s head, fully grown, armed, and armoured, and Zeus was none the worse for the experience.

The similarities between Zeus swallowing Metis and Cronus swallowing his children have been noted by several scholars. This also caused some controversy in regard to reproduction myths and the lack of a need for women as a means of reproduction.

Hesiod’s account is followed by Acusilaus and the Orphic tradition, which enthroned Metis side by side with Eros as primal cosmogenic forces. Plato makes Poros (“resource” or “plenty”), or “creative ingenuity”, the child of Metis. This figure exists in Roman mythology as well and is known as Pomona, in which Porus is the personification of abundance. He is the brother of Athena.

In Plato’s Symposium, Porus was the personification of resourcefulness or expediency. He was seduced by Penia (poverty) while drunk on more than his fill of nectar at Aphrodite’s birthday. Penia gave birth to Eros (love) from their union. According to the character Diotima, Eros is forever in need because of his mother, but forever pursuing because of his father.

Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena, the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, strength, war strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill in ancient Greek religion and mythology. Like Athena, Minerva was born from the head of her father, Jupiter (Greek Zeus).

Stemming from an Italic moon goddess *Meneswā (‘She who measures’), the Etruscans adopted the inherited Old Latin name, *Menerwā, thereby calling her Menrva. It is assumed that her Roman name, Minerva, is based on this Etruscan mythology.

By a process of folk etymology, the Romans could have linked her foreign name to the root men- in Latin words such as mens meaning “mind”, perhaps because one of her aspects as goddess pertained to the intellectual.

Carl Becker noted that her name appears to contain the PIE root *men-, which he notes was linked in Greek primarily to memory words (cf. Greek “mnestis” ‘memory, remembrance, recollection’), but which more generally referred to ‘mind’ in most Indo-European languages.

The word mens is built from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- ‘mind’ (linked with memory as in Greek Mnemosyne and mnestis: memory, remembrance, recollection, manush in Sanskrit meaning mind).

Men (Latin: Mensis, also known at Antioch in Pisidia as Men Ascaënus) was a god worshipped in the western interior parts of Anatolia. The roots of the Men cult may go back to Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC. Ancient writers describe Men as a local god of the Phrygians.

Lunar symbolism dominates his iconography. The god is usually shown with a crescent like open horns on his shoulders, and he is described as the god presiding over the months. He is depicted with a Phrygian cap and a belted tunic. He may be accompanied by bulls and lions in religious artwork. The iconography of Men partly recalls that of Mithras, who also wears a Phrygian cap and is commonly depicted with a bull and symbols of the sun and moon.

Comana was a city of Cappadocia and later Cataonia. The Hittite toponym Kummanni, the name of the main center the Anatolian kingdom of Kizzuwatna, is considered likely to refer to Comana, but the identification is not considered proven. Its ruins are at the modern Turkish village of Şar, Tufanbeyli district, Adana Province.

Another epithet for the city, found in inscriptions, is Hieropolis ‘sacred city’, owing to a famous temple of the Syrian Moon goddess Enyo or, in the local language: Ma (cf. Men, the moon goddess of Caria).  Enyo was a goddess of war in Greek mythology, the companion of the war god Ares. She is also called the “sister of War”, in a role closely resembling that of Eris; with Homer in particular representing the two as the same goddess.

The temple and its fame in ancient times as the place where the rites of Ma-Enyo, a variety of the great west Asian nature-goddess, were celebrated with much solemnity. Under the Romans the temple was reassigned to Bellona and Lycomedes established as high priest.

The Romans identified Enyo with Bellona, an Ancient Roman goddess of war originally named Duellona in the Italic languages, and she also has similarities with the Anatolian goddess Ma, a local goddess at Ma and a Phrygian alternative name for Cybele. In the military cult of Bellona, she was associated with Virtus, the deity of bravery and military strength, the personification of valour, and the personification of the Roman virtue of virtus.

Virtus was identified with the Roman god Honos (personification of honour) and was often honoured together with him. Within the realm of funerary reliefs Virtus is never shown without a male companion. Often her presence within this realm of art is to compliment and provide assistance to the protagonist of the relief during a scene of intense masculinity or bravery.

Bellona was an ancient Sabine goddess of war, identified with Nerio, the consort of the war god Mars, and later with her Greek equivalent Enyo. Her first temple in Rome was dedicated in 296 BCE, where her festival was celebrated on June 3. Her priests were known as Bellonarii and used to wound their own arms or legs as a blood sacrifice to her.

These rites took place on the 24 March, called the day of blood (dies sanguinis) after the ceremony. In consequence of this practice, which approximated to the rites dedicated to Cybele in Asia Minor, both Enyo and Bellona became identified with her Cappadocian aspect, Ma.

Cybele (perhaps “Mountain Mother”) is an Anatolian mother goddess; she has a possible precursor in the earliest Neolithic at Çatalhöyük, where the statue of a pregnant, seated goddess was found in a granary dated to the 6th millennium BCE. This corpulent, fertile Mother Goddess appears to be giving birth on her throne, which has two feline-headed hand rests.

She is ancient Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably the highest deity of the Phrygian State. ] In Greece, as in Phrygia, she was a “Mistress of animals” (Potnia Therōn), with her mastery of the natural world expressed by the lions that flank her, sit in her lap or draw her chariot.

She was readily assimilated to the Minoan-Greek earth-mother Rhea, “Mother of the gods”, whose raucous, ecstatic rites she may have acquired. As an exemplar of devoted motherhood, she was partly assimilated to the grain-goddess Demeter, whose torchlight procession recalled her search for her lost daughter, Persephone.

In Hesiod’s Theogony (270–273), Enyo was also the name of one of the Graeae, three sisters who shared one eye and one tooth among them, along with Deino (“Dread”) and Pemphredo (“Alarm”).

From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, and magic.

Athena is known for her calm temperament, as she moves slowly to anger. She is noted to have only fought for just reasons, and would not fight without a purpose.

Athena is associated with Athens, a plural name, because it was the place where she presided over her sisterhood, the Athenai, in earliest times. Mycenae was the city where the Goddess was called Mykene, and Mycenae is named in the plural for the sisterhood of females who tended her there. At Thebes she was called Thebe, and the city again a plural, Thebae (or Thebes, where the ‘s’ is the plural formation). Similarly, at Athens she was called Athena, and the city Athenae (or Athens, again a plural).

Günther Neumann has suggested that Athena’s name is possibly of Lydian origin; it may be a compound word derived in part from Tyrrhenian ati, meaning mother and the name of the Hurrian goddess Hannahannah shortened in various places to Ana.

Plato also noted that the citizens of Sais in Egypt worshipped a goddess whose Egyptian name was Neith, and which was identified with Athena. Neith was the war goddess and huntress deity of the Egyptians since the ancient Pre-Dynastic period, who was also identified with weaving. The connection with Neith was later rejected by other scholars in view of formal difficulties.

Miriam Robbins Dexter has suggested that, at least at some point in her history, Athena has been a solar deity. Athena bears traits common with Indo-European solar goddesses, such as the possession of a mirror and the invention of weaving (for instance, the Baltic Saule possesses both these characteristics), and her association with Medusa (herself also suspected of being the remnants of a solar goddess) adds solar iconography to her cultus.

Additionally, she is also equated with the Celtic Sulis, a deity whose name is derived from the common proto-Indo-European root for many solar deities. Though the sun in Greek myth is personified as the male Helios, several relictual solar goddesses are known, such as Alectrona.

Minerva is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the “owl of Minerva”, which symbolised her association with wisdom and knowledge.

The word “cailleach” in the Scottish-Gaelic means old woman!, “coileach-oidhche” is the word for owl, believe it or not it means “night-cockerel”! These birds were most often associated with the Crone aspect of the Goddess. The owl is often a guide to and through the Underworld, a creature of keen sight in darkness, and a silent and swift hunter. It can help unmask those who would deceive you or take advantage of you.

Owls are believed to have played a more prominent role in early Celtic cults, and could perhaps have derived from a more broadly based deity of a common European descent. Predating the Greek cult of Athene, for whom the owl was an animal attribute, were images of these mysterious birds in Celtic lands.

T. F. Thiselton-Dyer in his Folk-lore of Shakespeare says that “from the earliest period it has been considered a bird of ill-omen,” and Pliny tells us how, on one occasion, even Rome itself underwent a lustration, because one of them strayed into the Capitol. He represents it also as a funereal bird, a monster of the night, the very abomination of human kind. The modern West generally associates owls with wisdom.

In the Near East, China, and Japan, the Owl is considered as both a bad omen and an evil spirit. For Christians the Owl traditionally signifies the Devil, powers of evil, bad news, and destruction. Similarly, in the Old Testament the Owl is an unclean creature that stands alone as a figure of desolation. In an Australian Aboriginal myth the Owl is the messenger of bad news. Yama, the Verdic God of death, sometimes sent out the Owl as his emissary.

Lilith is given her name as “screech owl” and “night monster”. The screech owl is Lilith’s totem bird and the form in which she often prowls the night. Some ancient statues show her as a voluptuous young woman with owl’s wings and feet, but she can adopt any guise to human eyes.

The Queen of the Night (also known as the `Burney Relief’) is a high relief terracotta plaque of baked clay depicting a naked winged woman flanked by owls and standing on the backs of two lions. It originated in southern Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) most probably in Babylonia, during the reign of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE) as it shares qualities in craftsmanship and technique with the famous diorite stele of Hammurabi’s laws and also with the piece known as `The god of Ur’ from that same period.

The woman depicted in the relief is acknowledged to be a goddess as she wears the horned headdress of a deity and holds the sacred rod-and-ring symbol in her raised hands. Not only is the woman winged but her legs taper to bird talons (which seem to grip the lion’s backs) and she is shown with a dew claw on her calves. Along the base of the plaque runs a motif which represents mountains, indicating high ground.

Who the winged woman is, however, has not been agreed upon though scholars generally believe her to be either Inanna (Ishtar), Lilith, Ereshkigal, or Ninhursag.

The Queen of the Night

Owls – Symbology and Mythology

The four cardinal directions or cardinal points (See: North)

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The olive grooves

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2016

The Sumerian texts relate how Dumuzid (Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”), the name of a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, fled to his sister Geshtinana, a minor goddess in Sumerian mythology, the so-called “heavenly grape-vine”, who attempted to hide him but who could not in the end stand up to the demons.

Ngeshtin-ana is the sister of Dumuzi and consort of Ningisida, she is involved in the account of Dumuzi trying to escape his fate at the hands of Inana and Ereshkigal. In her house he is changed into a gazelle before being caught and transported to the underworld.

In sumerian mythology she is the daughter of Enki and Ninhursag. When Dumuzi died, Geshtinanna lamentated days and nights. After her death, she became the goddess of wine and cold seasons. She is a divine poet and interpreter of dreams.

Gethsemane (lit. “oil press”) is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus’ crucifixion.

In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar. The Levantine (“lord”) Adonis, who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, is considered to be another counterpart of Tammuz, son and consort.

Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. Inanna was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Dumuzi was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries.

Aries is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It is located in the northern celestial hemisphere between Pisces to the west and Taurus to the east. The name Aries is Latin for ram, and its symbol is representing a ram’s horns.

Although Aries came to represent specifically the ram whose fleece became the Golden Fleece of Ancient Greek mythology, it has represented a ram since late Babylonian times. The fleece is a symbol of authority and kingship.

The identification of the constellation of Taurus with a bull is very old, certainly dating to the Chalcolithic, and perhaps even to the Upper Paleolithic. Taurus marked the point of vernal (spring) equinox in the Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze Age, from about 4000 BC to 1700 BC, after which it moved into the neighboring constellation Aries.

Beginning with the summer solstice came a time of mourning in the Ancient Near East, as in the Aegean: the Babylonians marked the decline in daylight hours and the onset of killing summer heat and drought with a six-day “funeral” for the god.

Recent discoveries reconfirm him as an annual life-death-rebirth deity: tablets discovered in 1963 show that Dumuzi was in fact consigned to the Underworld himself, in order to secure Inanna’s release, though the recovered final line reveals that he is to revive for six months of each year.

According to some scholars, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, originally commissioned in 327 by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena over the site that is still traditionally considered to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus, is built over a cave that was originally a shrine to Adonis-Tammuz.

The other myth is the story of Nergal, the plague god. Once, the gods held a banquet that Ereshkigal, as queen of the Netherworld, could not come up to attend. They invited her to send a messenger, and she sent her vizier Namtar in her place. He was treated well by all, but for the exception of being disrespected by Nergal.

As a result of this, Nergal was banished to the kingdom controlled by the goddess. Versions vary at this point, but all of them result in him becoming her husband. In later tradition, Nergal is said to have been the victor, taking her as wife and ruling the land himself.

Ereshkigal (lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”) was the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal, lit. “Great Lady of the Earth” or “Lady of the Great Earth”. She was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom.

In some versions of the myths, she rules the underworld by herself, sometimes with a husband subordinate to her named Gugalana (lit: “the Great Bull of Heaven”), better known as the Bull of Heaven (Sumerian: gu.an.na), a deity in ancient Mesopotamian religion originating in Sumer as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac. It was said that she had been stolen away by Kur and taken to the underworld, where she was made queen unwillingly.

Taurus was the constellation of the Northern Hemisphere’s March equinox from about 3200 bc. The equinox was considered the Sumerian New Year, Akitu, an important event in their religion. The story of the death of Gugalanna has been considered to represent the sun’s obscuring of the constellation as it rose on the morning of the equinox.

The goddess Ishtar refers to Ereshkigal as her older sister in the Sumerian hymn “The Descent of Inanna” (which was also in later Babylonian myth, also called “The Descent of Ishtar”).

Ereshkigal is the sister and counterpart of Inanna/Ishtar, the symbol of nature during the non-productive season of the year. She is known chiefly through two myths, believed to symbolize the changing of the seasons, but perhaps also intended to illustrate certain doctrines which date back to the Mesopotamia period.

According to the doctrine of two kingdoms, the dominions of the two sisters are sharply differentiated, as one is of this world and one of the world of the dead.

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Armenia, Homeland of the Germans?

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 10, 2016

Armenia, Homeland of the Germans?

Aratta is a land that appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list. It is described in Sumerian literature as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them.

Aratta is remote and difficult to reach. It is home to the goddess Inanna, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk. It is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk. The name is connected to the Indo-European root Ar- meaning “assemble/create” which is vastly used in names of or regarding the Sun, light, or fire, found in Ararat, Aryan, Arta etc.

It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî. There are certain Bronze Age records identified with the toponym in both Mesopotamian and Egyptian sources. The earliest is from an inscription which mentions Armânum together with Ibla (Ebla) as territories conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad in c. 2250 BC.

Another mention by pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) as the people of Ermenen, and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”. Armin is a given name or surname, and is an ancient Zoroastrian given name in Persian, meaning “Guardian of Aryan land”.

Urartu, corresponding to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat or Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili) was an Iron Age kingdom centered on Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. The landscape corresponds to the mountainous plateau between Anatolia, Mesopotamia, the Iranian Plateau, and the Caucasus Mountains, later known as the Armenian Highlands.

In the early sixth century BC, Urartu was replaced by the Armenian Orontid Dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun Inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius I, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in the Elamite language.

The title “Aryan” is the Anglicized form of the Sanskrit Arya, the “noble or exalted”, a term which is employed in Indian literature, ancient and modern, solely in a racial sense to designate the fair ruling and civilizing race as opposed to the dark aboriginal subject people, and India itself was called the “Land or Region of the Aryas or Aryans.” It means noble etc from the root “ar”, hence the European words Arl (Earl) meaning “Nobleman” and also the German word Ahre meaning “Honour”.

It is similarly used in a ruling sense by the Sumerians, Akkads, Amorites, and Hittites in its earlier form of Ar, Ara, Ari, Har or Harri, also meaning “exalted or noble”, and similarly with a like meaning in Ancient Egypt; and ancient Greek name of Aeria or Harie for Egypt, probably designated that country as the “Land of the Ari or the Aryans”.

The Medes, as Herodotus records, were formerly called Arii and Ariana or Land of the Ari was a title of Persia and the source of the modern name Iran for that land. The title Harri is used by the Mitanni or the Early Medes, on their records about 1400 BC.

Darius-the-Great calls himself on his tomb “an Ariyo of Ariyo descent”. It is the Her title of the Ancient Goths, in their great epics, the Eddas, and the source of the modern Herr or “master” of the Teutons and Scandinavians, of the Irish Celtic Aira, a “chief” or “nobleman”, and of the Ar in aristocratic.

This title Ar, Ari, Arya, or Aryan appears to have originally designated the Early Aryans as “The Ploghmen” from the Sumerian Ar, Ara, “plough”, which is now disclosed as the source of the Old English ear, “to plough, to ear the ground” and of “ar-able”, etc.

The Aryans are now seen to have been the traditional inventors of the plough and of the Agricultural Era of the World; and the sense of Ara or “the exalted ones” appears to have been used for this title when this gifted race became the rulers of the various aboriginal tribes-the Sumerian also gives the plough sign the meaning of “raise up, exalt” as the secondary meaning of ploughing as “the uplifting” of the earth.

Ensi means dream interpreter (en, enigmatic background+sig, to dwell; to complete), and city ruler (Old Sumerian), city governor (post-Sargonic) (en, lord, manager,+si, plowland,+ genitive; cf., nísañ, governor). They held most political power in Sumerian city states during the Uruk period (c.4100-2900 BCE).

The Armenian hypothesis of the Proto-Indo-European Urheimat was proposed by Georgian (T. Gamkrelidze) and Russian linguist V. V. Ivanov in 1985, suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken during the 4th millennium BC in the Armenian Highlands.

Gamkrelidze and Ivanov argue that IE spread out from Armenia into the Pontic steppe, from which it expanded, as per the Kurgan hypothesis, into Western Europe. The Hittite, Indo-Iranian, Greek and Armenian branches split from the Armenian homeland.

It is an Indo-Hittite model and does not include the Anatolian languages in its scenario, which are identified with the Kura-Araxes culture. The phonological peculiarities proposed in the glottalic theory would be best preserved in the Armenian language and the Germanic languages, the former assuming the role of the dialect which remained in situ and implied to be particularly archaic in spite of its late attestation.

The Proto-Greek language would be practically equivalent to Mycenaean Greek and date to the 17th century BC and closely associate Greek migration to Greece with the Indo-Aryan migration to India at about the same time (the Indo-European expansion at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, including the possibility of Indo-European Kassites).

The Armenian hypothesis argues for the latest possible date of Proto-Indo-European (without Anatolian), roughly a millennium later than the mainstream Kurgan hypothesis. It figures as an opposite to the Anatolian hypothesis in spite of the geographical proximity of the respective suggested Urheimaten, diverging from the timeframe suggested there by as much as three millennia.

Hittite is one of the Anatolian languages. It is known from cuneiform tablets and inscriptions erected by the Hittite kings. The script formerly known as “Hieroglyphic Hittite” is now termed Hieroglyphic Luwian. The Anatolian branch also includes Cuneiform Luwian, Hieroglyphic Luwian, Palaic, Lycian, Milyan, Lydian, Carian, Pisidian, and Sidetic.

Hittite lacks some features of the other Indo-European languages, such as a distinction between masculine and feminine grammatical gender, subjunctive and optative moods, and aspect. Various hypotheses have been formulated to explain these contrasts.

Some linguists, most notably Edgar H. Sturtevant and Warren Cowgill, have argued that it should be classified as a sister language to Proto-Indo-European, rather than a daughter language, formulating the Indo-Hittite hypothesis. The parent, Indo-Hittite, lacked the features not present in Hittite, which Proto-Indo-European innovated.

Other linguists, however, have taken the opposite point of view, the Schwund (“loss”) Hypothesis, that Hittite (or Anatolian) came from a Proto-Indo-European possessing the full range of features, but simplified. A third hypothesis, supported by Calvert Watkins and others, viewed the major families as all coming from Proto-Indo-European directly. They were all sister languages or language groups. Differences might be explained as dialectical.

According to Craig Melchert, the current tendency is to suppose that Proto-Indo-European evolved, and that the “prehistoric speakers” of Anatolian became isolated “from the rest of the PIE speech community, so as not to share in some common innovations.”

Hittite, as well as its Anatolian cousins, split off from Proto-Indo-European at an early stage, thereby preserving archaisms that were later lost in the other Indo-European languages.

In Hittite there are many loanwords, particularly religious vocabulary, from the non-Indo-European Hurrian and Hattic languages. The latter was the language of the Hattians, the local inhabitants of the land of Hatti before being absorbed or displaced by the Hittites. Sacred and magical texts from Hattusa were often written in Hattic, Hurrian, and Luwian, even after Hittite became the norm for other writings.

In 1981, Paul Hopper proposed to divide all Indo-European languages into Decem and Taihun groups, according to the pronunciation of the numeral ’10’, by analogy with the Centum-Satem isogloss, which is based on the pronunciation of the numeral ‘100’.

The Armenian, Germanic, Anatolian, and Tocharian subfamilies belong to the Taihun group because the numeral ’10’ begins with a voiceless t there. All other Indo-European languages belong to the Decem group because the numeral 10 begins with a voiced d in them.

Robert Drews, commenting on the hypothesis, says that “most of the chronological and historical arguments seem fragile at best, and of those that I am able to judge, some are evidently wrong”.

However, he argues that it is far more powerful as a linguistic model, providing insights into the relationship between Indo-European and the Semitic and Kartvelian languages.

He continues, “It is certain that the inhabitants of the forested areas of Armenia very early became accomplished woodworkers, and it now appears that in the second millennium they produced spoked-wheel vehicles that served as models as far away as China. And we have long known that from the second millennium onward, Armenia was important for the breeding of horses. It is thus not surprising to find that what clues we have suggest that chariot warfare was pioneered in eastern Anatolia. Finally, our picture of what the PIE speakers did, and when, owes much to the recently proposed hypothesis that the homeland of the PIE speakers was Armenia.”

John Greppin, reviewing Gamkrelidze and Ivanov’s book, wrote that their model of linguistic relationships is “the most complex, far reaching and fully supported of this century”.

Statistical research by Quentin Atkinson and others using Bayesian inference and glottochronological markers favors an Indo-European origin in Anatolia, though the method’s validity and accuracy are subject to debate.

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The main god in mythology

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 10, 2016

Sky father

In comparative mythology, sky father is a term for a recurring concept of a sky god who is addressed as a “father”, often the father of a pantheon. The concept of “sky father” may also be taken to include Sun gods with similar characteristics. The concept is complementary to an “earth mother”.

“Sky Father” is a direct translation of the Vedic Dyaus Pita, etymologically descended from the same Proto-Indo-European deity as the Greek Zeus Pater and Roman Jupiter, all of which are reflexes of the same Proto-Indo-European deity’s name, *Dyēus Phtḗr. While there are numerous parallels adduced from outside of Indo-European mythology, the concept is far from universal (e.g. Egyptian mythology has a “Heavenly Mother”).

In Ancient Egypt, Horus was ruler of the sky. He was shown as a typical male humanoid, however, he appeared to have the head of a falcon. It is not uncommon for birds to represent the sky in ancient religions, due to their ability to fly. Horus served many functions, most notably being a god of the sky, war and hunting.

Osiris was an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld, and the dead, but more appropriately as the god of transition, resurrection, and regeneration. Osiris was at times considered the oldest son of the earth god Geb, though other sources state his father is the sun-god Ra and the sky goddess Nut, as well as being brother and husband of Isis, with Horus being considered his posthumously begotten son.

Osiris was considered not only a merciful judge of the dead in the afterlife, but also the underworld agency that granted all life, including sprouting vegetation and the fertile flooding of the Nile River. Through the hope of new life after death, Osiris began to be associated with the cycles observed in nature, in particular vegetation and the annual flooding of the Nile.

Ra is the ancient Egyptian sun god. By the Fifth Dynasty in the 25th and 24th centuries bc, he had become a major god in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the noon sun. He was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the earth, and the underworld. He was associated with the falcon or hawk.

In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was merged with the god Horus, as Ra-Horakhty (“Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons”). When in the New Kingdom the god Amun rose to prominence he was fused with Ra as Amun-Ra.

In China, in Daoist belief tian (“sky” or “heaven”) is used to refer to the sky as well as a personification of it. It is associated with light, the positive, male, etc., whereas di meaning earth or land, is associated with dark, the negative, female, etc.

Shangdi (literally “King Above”) was a supreme God worshipped in ancient China. It is also used to refer to the Christian God in the Standard Chinese Union Version of the Bible. Zhu, Tian Zhu (lit. “Lord” or “Lord in Heaven”), is translated from the English word, “Lord”, which is a formal title of the Christian God in Mainland China’s Christian churches.

An

In Mesopotamian mythology, An or Anu (Sumerian for “heaven”, “sky”), is the father deity of the Sumerian and Assyro-Babylonian pantheon and is also the earliest attested Sky Father deity. In Sumerian religion, he was also “King of the Gods”, “Lord of the Constellations, Spirits and Demons”, and “Supreme Ruler of the Kingdom of Heaven”, where Anu himself wandered the highest Heavenly Regions.

He was believed to have the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and to have created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the Royal Tiara.

Anu existed in Sumerian cosmogony as a dome that covered the flat earth; Outside of this dome was the primordial body of water known as Nammu. In Sumerian, the designation “An” was used interchangeably with “the heavens” so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god An or the heavens is being denoted.

Dingir

Dingir (usually transliterated diĝir) is a Sumerian word for “god”. The Sumerian sign DIĜIR originated as a star-shaped ideogram indicating a god in general, or the Sumerian god An, the supreme father of the gods. Dingir also meant sky or heaven in contrast with ki which meant earth. Its emesal pronunciation was dimer.

Its cuneiform sign is most commonly employed as the determinative for “deity” although it has related meanings as well. As a determinative, it is not pronounced, and is conventionally transliterated as a superscript “D” as in e.g. DInanna. Generically, dingir can be translated as “god” or “goddess”.

The sign in Sumerian cuneiform (DIĜIR) by itself represents the Sumerian word an (“sky” or “heaven”), the ideogram for An or the word diĝir (“god”), the supreme deity of the Sumerian pantheon. In Assyrian cuneiform, it (AN, DIĜIR) could be either an ideogram for “deity” (ilum) or a syllabogram for an, or ìl-. In Hittite orthography, the syllabic value of the sign was again an.

The concept of “divinity” in Sumerian is closely associated with the heavens, as is evident from the fact that the cuneiform sign doubles as the ideogram for “sky”, and that its original shape is the picture of a star. The original association of “divinity” is thus with “bright” or “shining” hierophanies in the sky.

Deus

Deus is Latin for “god” or “deity”. Latin deus and dīvus “divine”, are descended from Proto-Indo-European *deiwos, “celestial” or “shining”, from the same root as *Dyēus, the reconstructed chief god of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon.

Compare Greek Zeus and Sanskrit deva. Latin dies (“day”) is considered to have derived from the same PIE root that originated deus. This is to say that a celestial shining body, the Sun, gives material form to the words for “day” in the Romance Languages.

In Classical Latin, deus (feminine dea) was a general noun referring to a deity, while in technical usage a divus ordiva was a figure who had become divine, such as a divinized emperor. In Late Latin, Deus came to be used mostly for the Christian God. It was inherited by the Romance languages in French Dieu, Spanish Dios, Portuguese and GalicianDeus, Italian Dio, etc., and by the Celtic languages in Welsh Duw and Irish Dia.

Dyeus

Dyēus (also *Dyēus Phter, alternatively spelled dyēws) is believed to have been the chief deity in the religious traditions of the prehistoric Proto-Indo-European societies. Part of a larger pantheon, he was the god of the daylight sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in society. In his aspect as a father god, his consort would have been Pltwih Méhter, “earth mother”.

This deity is not directly attested; rather, scholars have reconstructed this deity from the languages and cultures of later Indo-European peoples such as the Greeks, Latins, and Indo-Aryans. According to this scholarly reconstruction, Dyeus was addressed as Dyeu Phter, literally “sky father” or “shining father”, as reflected in Latin Iūpiter, Diēspiter, possibly Dis Pater and deus pater, Greek Zeu pater, Sanskrit Dyàuṣpítaḥ.

As the pantheons of the individual mythologies related to the Proto-Indo-European religion evolved, attributes of Dyeus seem to have been redistributed to other deities. In Greek and Roman mythology, Dyeus remained the chief god; however, in Vedic mythology, the etymological continuant of Dyeus became a very abstract god, and his original attributes and dominance over other gods appear to have been transferred to gods such as Agni or Indra.

Later figures etymologically connected with Dyeus is Zeus in Greek mythology, Jupiter (from *Iou-pater) and Dis Pater (although he is more connected with the Greco-Roman Pluto theologically) in Roman mythology, Dyaus Pitar in Historical Vedic religion, and Dionysus, especially with the Thracians and Sabines.

Rooted in the related but distinct Indo-European word *deiwos is the Latin word for deity, deus. The Latin word is also continued in English divine, “deity”, and the original Germanic word remains visible in “Tuesday” (“Day of Tīwaz”) and Old Norse tívar, which may be continued in the toponym Tiveden (“Wood of the Gods”, or of Týr).

The names derived from the related *deiwos are Germanic Tīwaz (known as Týr in Old Norse), Latin Deus (originally used to address Jupiter, but later adopted as the name of the Christian god), Indo-Aryan deva: Vedic/Puranic deva, Buddhist deva, Iranic daeva, daiva, diw, etc., Baltic Dievas, Celtic e.g. Gaulish Dēuos, Scottish Gaelic dia, Welsh duw, and Slavic div (genitive divese; “miracle”). Estonian Tharapita bears similarity to Dyaus Pita in name, although it has been interpreted as being related to the god Thor.

Although some of the more iconic reflexes of Dyeus are storm deities, such as Zeus and Jupiter, this is thought to be a late development exclusive to mediterranean traditions, probably derived from syncretism with Canaanite deities and Perkwunos.

The deity’s original domain was over the daylit sky, and indeed reflexes emphasise this connection to light: Istanu (Tiyaz) is a solar deity, Helios is often referred to as the “eye of Zeus”, in Romanian paganism the Sun is similarly called “God’s eye” and in Indo-Iranian tradition Surya/Hvare-khshaeta is similarly associated with Ahura Mazda. Even in Roman tradition, Jupiter often is only associated with diurnal lightning at most, while Summanus is a deity responsible for nocturnal lightning or storms as a whole.

Dyēus’s name also likely means “the daytime sky”. In Sanskrit as div- (nominative singular dyāus with vrddhi), its singular means “the sky” and its plural means “days”. Its accusative form *dyēm became Latin diem “day”, which later gave rise to a new nominative diēs. The original nominative survives as diūs in a few fixed expressions.

Finnish taivas, Estonian taevas, Livonian tōvaz etc. (from Proto-Finnic *taivas), meaning “heaven” or “sky,” are likely rooted in the Indo-European word. The neighboring Baltic Dievas or Germanic Tiwaz are possible sources, but the Indo-Iranian *daivas accords better in both form and meaning. Similar origin has been proposed for the word family represented by Finnish toivoa “to hope” (originally “to pray from gods”).

Lithuanian Dievas, Latvian Dievs, Latgalian Dīvs, Prussian Deywis, Yotvingian Deivas was the supreme god in the Baltic mythology and one of the most important deities together with Perkūnas. Dievas is a direct successor of the Proto-Indo-European supreme god *Dyēus of the root *deiwo-. Its Proto-Baltic form was *Deivas. In recent Lithuanian, this word may refer to the deity of any kind (Pagan, Christian, fictional and the like).

In English, Dievas may be used as a word to describe the God (or, the supreme god) in the pre-Christian religion of Balts, where Dievas was understood to be the supreme being of the world. In Lithuanian and Latvian, it is also used to describe God as it is understood by major world religions today.

Earlier *Deivas simply denoted the shining sunlit dome of the sky, as in other Indo-European mythologies. The celestial aspect is still apparent in phrases such as Saule noiet dievā, from Latvian folksongs. In Hinduism any deity is known as Deva, a result of shared Proto-Indo-European roots.

In the early Vedic pantheon, Dyaus Pita “Sky Father” appears already in a marginal position, but in comparative mythology is often reconstructed as having stood alongside Prithvi Mata “Earth Mother” in prehistoric times.

Dis pater

Dīs Pater was a Roman god of the underworld, later subsumed by Pluto or Hades (Hades was Greek). Originally a chthonic god of riches, fertile agricultural land, and underground mineral wealth, he was later commonly equated with the Roman deities Pluto and Orcus, becoming an underworld deity.

The Etruscan god Aita and Roman gods Dis Pater and Orcus were eventually taken as equivalent to the Greek Hades and merged as Pluto, a Latinization of his euphemistic Greek name Plouton.

Dīs Pater was commonly shortened to simply Dīs. This name has since become an alternative name for the underworld or a part of the underworld, such as the City of Dis of The Divine Comedy.

Cicero in his De Natura Deorum derives the name of Dīs Pater from dives, suggesting a meaning of “father of riches”, directly corresponding to the name Pluto (from Greek Ploutōn, meaning “wealthy”).

According to some 19th century authors many of Cicero’s etymological derivations are not to be taken seriously, and may indeed have been intended ironical, however, this particular derivation of Cicero’s has been accepted by some contemporary authors, some even suggesting that Dīs Pater is a direct loan translation of Ploutōn. Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of the same god as Jupiter (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus Phter).

Like Pluto, Dīs Pater eventually became associated with death and the underworld because the wealth of the earth—gems and precious metals—was considered in the domain of the Greco-Roman underworld. As a result, Dīs Pater was over time conflated with the Greek god Hades.

In being conflated with Pluto, Dīs Pater took on some of the Greek mythological attributes of Pluto / Hades, being one of the three sons of Saturn (Greek: Cronus) and Ops (Greek: Rhea), along with Jupiter and Neptune. He ruled the underworld and the dead beside his wife, Proserpina (Greek: Persephone). In literature, Dīs Pater was commonly used as a symbolic and poetic way of referring to death itself.

In addition to being considered the ancestor of the Gauls, Dīs Pater was sometimes identified with the Sabine god Soranus. Soranus was identified with Dis, the Roman god of the underworld, or with Apollo.

The Italic Diespiter was also a sky god who manifested himself in the daylight, usually but not always identified with Jupiter. Dīs Pater was a Roman god of the underworld, later subsumed by Pluto or Hades (Hades was Greek).

Originally a chthonic god of riches, fertile agricultural land, and underground mineral wealth, he was later commonly equated with the Roman deities Pluto and Orcus, becoming an underworld deity. Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of the same god as Jupiter (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus Phter).

Like Pluto, Dīs Pater eventually became associated with death and the underworld because the wealth of the earth—gems and precious metals—was considered in the domain of the Greco-Roman underworld. As a result, Dīs Pater was over time conflated with the Greek god Hades.

In being conflated with Pluto, Dīs Pater took on some of the Greek mythological attributes of Pluto/Hades, being one of the three sons of Saturn (Greek: Cronus) and Ops (Greek: Rhea), along with Jupiter and Neptune. He ruled the underworld and the dead beside his wife, Proserpina (Greek: Persephone). In literature, Dīs Pater was commonly used as a symbolic and poetic way of referring to death itself.

As the sky-god, Jupiter was a divine witness to oaths, the sacred trust on which justice and good government depend. Many of his functions were focused on the Capitoline Hill, where the citadel was located. He was the chief deity of the early Capitoline Triad with Mars and Quirinus. In the later Capitoline Triad, he was the central guardian of the state with Juno and Minerva. His sacred tree was the oak.

Pluto – Hades

Pluto was the ruler of the underworld in classical mythology. The earlier name for the god was Hades, which became more common as the name of the underworld itself. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Pluto represents a more positive concept of the god who presides over the afterlife.

Hades was the ancient Greek chthonic god of the underworld, which eventually took his name. He was regarded as the oldest son of Cronus and Rhea, although the last son regurgitated by his father.

He and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated their father’s generation of gods, the Titans, and claimed rulership over the cosmos. Hades received the underworld, Zeus the air, and Poseidon the sea, with the solid earth—long the province of Gaia—available to all three concurrently.

Hades was often portrayed with his three-headed guard dog Cerberus and, in later mythological authors, associated with the Helm of Darkness, a helmet or cap that can turn the wearer invisible, and the bident, a two-pronged implement resembling a pitchfork.

In classical mythology, the bident is a weapon associated with Hades, the ruler of the underworld, while the three-pronged trident is the implement of Poseidon (Neptune), god of the seas and earthquakes. That the trident and bident might be somewhat interchangeable is suggested by a Byzantine scholiast, who mentions Poseidon being armed with a bident.

Pluto’s Roman equivalent is Dis Pater, whose name is most often taken to mean “Rich Father” and is perhaps a direct translation of Plouton. Seneca calls Dis the “Infernal Jove” or the “dire Jove” (the Jove who gives dire or ill omens, dirae), just as in the Greek tradition, Plouton is sometimes identified as a “chthonic Zeus.”

Ploutōn was frequently conflated with Ploutos, or Plutus, a god of wealth, because mineral wealth was found underground, and because as a chthonic god Pluto ruled the deep earth that contained the seeds necessary for a bountiful harvest.

The name Ploutōn came into widespread usage with the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which Pluto was venerated as a stern ruler but the loving husband of Persephone, represented by the Greeks as the beautiful daughter of Demeter. The couple received souls in the afterlife, and are invoked together in religious inscriptions. Hades by contrast had few temples and religious practices associated with him, and is portrayed as the dark and violent abductor of Persephone.

Pluto and Hades differ in character, but they are not distinct figures and share their two major myths. In Greek cosmogony, the god received the rule of the underworld in a three-way division of sovereignty over the world, with his brothers Zeus ruling the Sky and Poseidon the Sea. His central narrative is the abduction of Persephone to be his wife and the queen of his realm.

Persephone did not submit to Hades willingly, but was abducted by him while picking flowers in the fields of Nysa. In protest of his act, Demeter cast a curse on the land and there was a great famine; though, one by one, the gods came to request she lift it, lest mankind perish, she asserted that the earth would remain barren until she saw her daughter again.

Finally, Zeus intervened; via Hermes, he requested that Hades return Persephone. Hades complied, “But he on his part secretly gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, taking care for himself that she might not remain continually with grave, dark-robed Demeter.”

Demeter questioned Persephone on her return to light and air: “…but if you have tasted food, you must go back again beneath the secret places of the earth, there to dwell a third part of the seasons every year: yet for the two parts you shall be with me and the other deathless gods.”

This bound her to Hades and the Underworld, much to the dismay of Demeter. It is not clear whether Persephone was accomplice to the ploy. Zeus proposed a compromise, to which all parties agreed: of the year, Persephone would spend one third with her husband. It is during this time that winter casts on the earth “an aspect of sadness and mourning.”

Jupiter

In Ancient Rome, the sky father, or sky god, was Jupiter (Zeus in Ancient Greece), often depicted by birds, usually the eagle or hawk, and clouds or other sky phenomena. Nicknames included “Sky God” and “Cloud Gatherer.” While many attribute a sky god to the sun, Jupiter ruled mainly over the clouds and the heavens, while Apollo is referred to as the god of the sun. Apollo was, however, the son of Jupiter.

Jupiter, also Jove, is the god of sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as sacrifice.

Jupiter is usually thought to have originated as a sky god. His identifying implement is the thunderbolt and his primary sacred animal is the eagle, which held precedence over other birds in the taking of auspices and became one of the most common symbols of the Roman army. The two emblems were often combined to represent the god in the form of an eagle holding in its claws a thunderbolt, frequently seen on Greek and Roman coins.

The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, and in Latin literature and Roman art, the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name Iuppiter. Tinia is usually regarded as his Etruscan counterpart.

In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto. Each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, the waters, and the underworld.

The planet Jupiter has been known since ancient times. It is visible to the naked eye in the night sky and can occasionally be seen in the daytime when the Sun is low. To the Babylonians, this object represented their god Marduk. They used Jupiter’s roughly 12-year orbit along the ecliptic to define the constellations of their zodiac.

For people living in the ancient city of Babylon, Marduk was their patron god, and thus it is not a surprise that Babylonian astronomers took an interest in tracking the comings and goings of the planet Jupiter, which they regarded as a celestial manifestation of Marduk.

The Babylonian name for the planet was Ninib, another name for the ancient Sumerian god Ninurta. In very early times, Ninurta was regarded as a king of the gods and a powerful dragon -slayer. However, he was replaced in the hearts and minds of the Mesopotamian people by Marduk, a “younger” god and another dragon-slayer, associated with the planet Jupiter.

Ninurta, or more properly Ninib, survived as a god of agriculture, a kind of celestial magistrate over fields and their bounderies – and, by extension, the bounderies and limits of consciousness that are suggested by Saturn’s position as the visible limit of the solar system. He also governed the irrigation technology that helped move the ancient Mesopotamia along the road to achievement, and that made the fields prosper.

Ninurta was a Sumerian and the Akkadian god of hunting and war. In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil. In variant mythology, his mother is said to be the harvest goddess Ninhursag. The consort of Ninurta was Ugallu in Nippur and Bau when he was called Ningirsu.

He was worshipped in Babylonia and Assyria and in Lagash he was identified with the city god Ningirsu. In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib and Ninip, and in early commentary he was sometimes portrayed as a solar deity.

In another legend, Ninurta battles a birdlike monster called Imdugud (Akkadian: Anzû); a Babylonian version relates how the monster Anzû steals the Tablets of Destiny from Enlil. The Tablets of Destiny were believed to contain the details of fate and the future. Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the “Slain Heroes”. Eventually, Anzû is killed by Ninurta who delivers the Tablet of Destiny to his father, Enlil.

There are many parallels with both and the story of Marduk (son of Enki) who slew Tiamat and delivered the Tablets of Destiny from Kingu to his father, Enki.

In the astral-theological system Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn, or perhaps as offspring or an aspect of Saturn. In his capacity as a farmer-god, there are similarities between Ninurta and the Greek Titan Kronos, whom the Romans in turn identified with their Titan Saturn.

In the late neo-Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused Ninurta’s character with that of Nergal. The two gods were often invoked together, and spoken of as if they were one divinity.

The Romans named it after Jupiter (Latin: Iuppiter, Iūpiter) (also called Jove), the principal god of Roman mythology, whose name comes from the Proto-Indo-European vocative compound *Dyēu-pəter (nominative: *Dyēus-pətēr, meaning “Father Sky-God”, or “Father Day-God”). In turn, Jupiter was the counterpart to the mythical Greek Zeus, also referred to as Dias, the planetary name of which is retained in modern Greek.

In Germanic mythology, Jupiter is equated to Thor, whence the English name Thursday for the Roman dies Jovis. The astrological and astronomical sign of the planet Jupiter is sometimes used to represent Thursday.

The name of the day is derived from Old English Þūnresdæg and Middle English Thuresday (with loss of -n-, first in northern dialects, from influence of Old Norse Þorsdagr) meaning “Thor’s Day”. Thunor, Donar (German, Donnerstag) and Thor are derived from the name of the Germanic god of thunder, Thunraz, equivalent to Jupiter in the interpretatio romana.

In most Romance languages, the day is named after the Roman god Jupiter, who was the god of sky and thunder. In Latin, the day was known as Iovis Dies, “Jupiter’s Day”. In Latin, the genitive or possessive case of Jupiter was Iovis/Jovis and thus in most Romance languages it became the word for Thursday: Italian giovedì, Spanish jueves, French jeudi, Sardinian jòvia, Catalan dijous, Galician “xoves” and Romanian joi. This is also reflected in the p-Celtic Welsh dydd Iau.

Týr is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Týr is a god of war and will take mead, meat and blood for sacrifice. If a warrior carved the rune Tîwaz on his weapon he would be dedicating it to Týr and strengthen the outcome of a battle to be in his favor. After a warrior has dedicated his weapon to Týr he should not lose it or break it.

Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Týr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto (see Tacitus’ Germania) suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion.

It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.

Bṛhaspati refers to different deities depending on the age of the text. In ancient Indian literatures Brihaspati is a Vedic era sage deity who is the counselor for Demigods or Devas, whose king is Lord Indra, while in some medieval texts the word refers to the largest planet Jupiter.

In medieval mythologies particularly those associated with Hindu astrology, Brihaspati has a second meaning and refers to planet Jupiter. Brihaspati as Jupiter is part of the Navagraha in Hindu zodiac system, considered auspicious and benevolent.

It became the root of the word ‘Brihaspativara’ or Thursday in the Hindu calendar. The word “Thursday” in the Greco-Roman and other Indo-European calendars is also dedicated to planet Jupiter (god of sky and thunder).

Brihaspati was married to Tara, the Hindu goddess of felicity and sanguineness, in medieval mythologies, who was later abducted by Chandra (“shining”). Tara bore a son, Budha, a Sanskrit word that connotes the planet Mercury and personification of this planet as a God in Hinduism. Budha is also known as Saumya (“Son of Moon”), Rauhineya and Tunga.

Budha is the root of the word ‘Budhavara’ or Wednesday in the Hindu calendar. The word “Wednesday” in the Greco-Roman and other Indo-European calendars is also dedicated to planet Mercury (“day of Woden or Oden”).

Chandra is a lunar god and a Graha. He is also identified with the Vedic lunar deity Soma. The Soma name refers particularly to the juice of sap in the plants and thus makes the Moon the lord of plants and vegetation. As Soma, he presides over Monday. He is married to 27 Nakshatras, who are known to be daughters of Daksha.

In the Central Asian-Turkic myths, Jupiter is called Erendiz or Erentüz, from eren (of uncertain meaning) and yultuz (“star”). There are many theories about the meaning of eren. These peoples calculated the period of the orbit of Jupiter as 11 years and 300 days. They believed that some social and natural events connected to Erentüz’s movements on the sky.

Janus

Janus rules over the first things, Jupiter over the highest ones. It is thence right that Jupiter be considered the king of everything, because accomplishment has the first place in order of importance (dignitas) even though it has the second in order of time”.

Janus was likely the most important god in the Roman archaic pantheon. He was often invoked together with Iuppiter (Jupiter). In general, Janus is at the origin of time as the guardian of the gates of Heaven: Jupiter himself can move forth and back because of Janus’s working.

Janus owes the epithet Iunonius to his function as patron of all kalends, which are also associated with Juno. In Macrobius’s explanation: “Iunonium, as it were, not only does he hold the entry to January, but to all the months: indeed all the kalends are under the jurisdiction of Juno”.

Juno is an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. Juno also looked after the women of Rome. Her Greek equivalent was Hera. Her Etruscan counterpart was Uni. As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, Juno was called Regina (“Queen”) and, together with Jupiter and Minerva, was worshipped as a triad on the Capitol (Juno Capitolina) in Rome.

Juno’s own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She often appeared sitting pictured with a peacock armed and wearing a goatskin cloak. The traditional depiction of this warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Hera, whose goatskin was called the ‘aegis’.

At the time when the rising of the new moon was observed by the pontifex minor the rex sacrorum assisted by him offered a sacrifice to Janus in the Curia Calabra while the regina sacrorum sacrificed to Juno in the regia. Some scholars have maintained that Juno was the primitive paredra of the god. This point bears on the nature of Janus and Juno and is at the core of an important dispute: was Janus a debased ancient uranic supreme god, or were Janus and Jupiter co-existent, their distinct identities structurally inherent to their original theology?

Among Francophone scholars Grimal and (implicitly and partially) Renard and Basanoff have supported the view of a uranic supreme god against Dumézil and Schilling. Among Anglophone scholars Frazer and Cook have suggested an interpretation of Janus as uranic supreme god. Whatever the case, it is certain that Janus and Juno show a peculiar reciprocal affinity: while Janus is Iunonius, Juno is Ianualis, as she presides over childbirth and the menstrual cycle, and opens doors.

Moreover, besides the kalends Janus and Juno are also associated at the rite of the Tigillum Sororium of 1 October, in which they bear the epithets Ianus Curiatius and Iuno Sororia. These epithets, which swap the functional qualities of the gods, are the most remarkable apparent proof of their proximity. The rite is discussed in detail in the section below.

The Archaic Triad

The Archaic Triad consisting of the gods Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus was first described by Wissowa, and the concept was developed further by Dumézil. The three-function hypothesis of Indo-European society advanced by Dumézil holds that in prehistory, society was divided into three classes (priests, warriors and craftsmen) which had as their religious counterparts the divine figures of the sovereign god, the warrior god and the civil god. The sovereign function (embodied by Jupiter) entailed omnipotence; thence, a domain extended over every aspect of nature and life. The colour relating to the sovereign function is white.

The three functions are interrelated with one another, overlapping to some extent; the sovereign function, although essentially religious in nature, is involved in many ways in areas pertaining to the other two. Therefore, Jupiter is the “magic player” in the founding of the Roman state and the fields of war, agricultural plenty, human fertility and wealth. Jupiter, as a sovereign god, was considered as having the power to conquer anyone and anything in a supernatural way; his contribution to military victory was different from that of Mars (god of military valour).

Quirinus

In Roman mythology and religion, Quirinus is an early god of the Roman state. In Augustan Rome, Quirinus was also an epithet of Janus, as Janus Quirinus. His name may be derived from the Sabine word quiris “spear.” Quirinus is probably an adjective meaning “wielder of the spear” (Quiris, in the Sabine language, cf. Janus Quirinus).

Other suggested etymologies are from the Sabine town Cures; from curia, i.e. he was the god of the Roman state as represented by the thirty curies. A. B. Cook explains Quirinus as the oak-god (quercus), and Quirites as the men of the oaken spear.

Quirinus is probably an adjective meaning “wielder of the spear” (Quiris, in the Sabine language, cf. Janus Quirinus). Other suggested etymologies are from the Sabine town Cures; from curia, i.e. he was the god of the Roman state as represented by the thirty curies. A. B. Cook explains Quirinus as the oak-god (quercus), and Quirites as the men of the oaken spear.

Quirinus was originally most likely a Sabine god of war. The Sabines had a settlement near the eventual site of Rome, and erected an altar to Quirinus on the Collis Quirinalis Quirinal Hill, one of the Seven hills of Rome. When the Romans settled there, they absorbed the cult of Quirinus into their early belief system — previous to direct Greek influence — and by the end of the first century BC, Quirinus was considered to be the deified Romulus.

He soon became an important god of the Roman state, being included in the earliest precursor of the Capitoline Triad, along with Mars (then an agriculture god) and Jupiter. Varro mentions the Capitolium Vetus, an earlier cult site on the Quirinal, devoted to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, among whom Martial makes a distinction between the “old Jupiter” and the “new”.

In later times, however, Quirinus became far less important, losing his place to the later, more widely known Capitoline Triad (Juno and Minerva took his and Mars’ place). Later still, Romans began to drift away from the state belief system in favor of more personal and mystical cults (such as those of Bacchus, Cybele, and Isis). In the end, he was worshiped almost exclusively by his flamen, the Flamen Quirinalis, who remained, however, one of the patrician flamines maiores, the “greater flamens” who had precedence over the Pontifex Maximus.

Religious historian A. Brelich has argued that Quirinus and Romulus were originally the same divine entity which was split into a founder hero and a god when Roman religion became demythicised. Among the features of Romulus that make of him the human equivalent of Quirinus is his death at the hands of the patres which occurred on the date of the Quirinalia, February 17, also the last day of the Fornacalia or Stultorum Feriae according to Ovid’s Fasti.

Brelich maintains the equal identity of a god and founder hero with a staple food of a community, spelt in this case, is a well-known theme in anthropology, as shown in the myth of Hainuwele, which Jensen named as dema myth. The possible presence of the flamen Quirinalis at the festival of Acca Larentia would corroborate this thesis, given the fact that Romulus is a stepson of hers, and one the original twelfth arval brethren (Fratres Arvales).

According to Brelich the identity of Quirinus and Romulus would find a further point of support in the parallel with Vofionos, the third god in the triad of the Grabovian gods of Iguvium. Vofionos would be the equivalent of Liber or Teutates, in Latium and among the Celts respectively.

In earlier Roman art, he was portrayed as a bearded man with religious and military clothing. However, he was almost never depicted in later Roman belief systems. He was also often associated with the myrtle. His festival was the Quirinalia, held on February 17.

Even centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Quirinal hill in Rome, originally named from the deified Romulus, was still associated with power – it was chosen as the seat of the royal house after the taking of Rome by the Savoia and later it became the residence of the Presidents of the Italian Republic.

Quirinus is a god that incarnates the quirites, i.e. the Romans in their civil capacity of producers and fathers. He is surnamed Mars tranquillus peaceful Mars, Mars qui praeest paci Mars who presides on peace. His function of custos guardian is highlighted by the location of his temple inside the pomerium but not far from the gate of Porta Collina or Quirinalis, near the shrines of Sancus and Salus.

As a protector of peace he is nevertheless armed, in the same way as the quirites are, as they are potentially milites soldiers: his staue represents him is holding a spear. For this reason Janus, god of gates, is concerned with his function of protector of the civil community.

For the same reason the flamen Portunalis oiled the arms of Quirinus, implying that they were to be kept in good order and ready even though they were not to be used immediately. Dumézil and Schilling remark that as a god of the third function Quirinus is peaceful and represents the ideal of the pax romana i. e. a peace resting on victory.

Mars Quirinus was the protector of the Quirites (“citizens” or “civilians”) as divided into curiae (citizen assemblies), whose oaths were required to make a treaty. As a guarantor of treaties, Mars Quirinus is thus a god of peace: “When he rampages, Mars is called Gradivus, but when he’s at peace Quirinus.”

The deified Romulus was identified with Mars Quirinus. In the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus, however, Mars and Quirinus were two separate deities, though not perhaps in origin. Each of the three had his own flamen (specialized priest), but the functions of the Flamen Martialis and Flamen Quirinalis are hard to distinguish.

Mars

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming. Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares, whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art under the name of Mars.

Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people. In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.

Although Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, Mars was the son of Juno alone. Jupiter had usurped the mother’s function when he gave birth to Minerva directly from his forehead (or mind); to restore the balance, Juno sought the advice of the goddess Flora on how to do the same. Flora obtained a magic flower (Latin flos, plural flores, a masculine word) and tested it on a heifer who became fecund at once. She then plucked a flower ritually using her thumb, touched Juno’s belly, and impregnated her. Juno withdrew to Thrace and the shore of Marmara for the birth.

Ovid tells this story in the Fasti, his long-form poetic work on the Roman calendar. It may explain why the Matronalia, a festival celebrated by married women in honor of Juno as a goddess of childbirth, occurred on the first day of Mars’ month, which is also marked on a calendar from late antiquity as the birthday of Mars. In the earliest Roman calendar, March was the first month, and the god would have been born with the new year.

The consort of Mars was Nerio or Nerine, “Valor.” She represents the vital force (vis), power (potentia) and majesty (maiestas) of Mars. Her name was regarded as Sabine in origin and is equivalent to Latin virtus, “manly virtue” (from vir, “man”). In the early 3rd century BC, the comic playwright Plautus has a reference to Mars greeting Nerio, his wife. A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Nerine were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23. In the later Roman Empire, Nerine came to be identified with Minerva.

Nerio probably originates as a divine personification of Mars’ power, as such abstractions in Latin are generally feminine. Her name appears with that of Mars in an archaic prayer invoking a series of abstract qualities, each paired with the name of a deity. The influence of Greek mythology and its anthropomorphic gods may have caused Roman writers to treat these pairs as “marriages.”

The spear is the instrument of Mars in the same way that Jupiter wields the lightning bolt, Neptune the trident, and Saturn the scythe or sickle. A relic or fetish called the spear of Mars was kept in a sacrarium at the Regia, the former residence of the Kings of Rome. The spear was said to move, tremble or vibrate at impending war or other danger to the state, as was reported to occur before the assassination of Julius Caesar. When Mars is pictured as a peace-bringer, his spear is wreathed with laurel or other vegetation, as on the Ara Pacis or a coin of Aemilianus.

Ereshkigal and Nergal

Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom. It was said that she had been stolen away by Kur and taken to the underworld, where she was made queen unwillingly.

Inanna refers to Ereshkigal as her older sister in the Sumerian hymn “The Descent of Inanna” (which was also in later Babylonian myth, also called “The Descent of Ishtar”). Inanna/Ishtar’s trip and return to the underworld is the most familiar of the myths concerning Ereshkigal.

Ereshkigal is the sister and counterpart of Inanna/Ishtar, the symbol of nature during the non-productive season of the year. Ereshkigal was also a queen that many gods and goddesses looked up to in the underworld.

She is known chiefly through two myths, believed to symbolize the changing of the seasons, but perhaps also intended to illustrate certain doctrines which date back to the Mesopotamia period. According to the doctrine of two kingdoms, the dominions of the two sisters are sharply differentiated, as one is of this world and one of the world of the dead.

Nergal was a deity worshipped throughout Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia) with the main seat of his worship at Cuthahrepresented by the mound of Tell-Ibrahim. He is a son of Enlil and Ninlil, along with Nanna and Ninurta.

Nergal is a son of Enlil and Ninlil, along with Nanna and Ninurta. Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.

Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle. He has also been called “the king of sunset”.

Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person. In some texts the god Ninazu is the son of Nergal and Allatu/Ereshkigal.

In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars)—hence the current name of the planet.

Nergal’s chief temple at Cuthah bore the name Meslam, from which the god receives the designation of Meslamtaedaor Meslamtaea, “the one that rises up from Meslam”. The name Meslamtaeda / Meslamtaea indeed is found as early as the list of gods from Fara while the name Nergal only begins to appear in the Akkadian period.

In Babylonian astronomy, the stars Castor and Pollux were known as the Great Twins (MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL). The Twins were regarded as minor gods and were called Meshlamtaea and Lugalirra, meaning respectively ‘The One who has arisen from the Underworld’ and the ‘Mighty King’. Both names can be understood as titles of Nergal, the major Babylonian god of plague and pestilence, who was king of the Underworld.

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.

In Assyro-Babylonian ecclesiastical art the great lion-headed colossi serving as guardians to the temples and palaces seem to symbolise Nergal, just as the bull-headed colossi probably typify Ninurta.

The worship of Nergal does not appear to have spread as widely as that of Ninurta, but in the late Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused the two divinities, which were invoked together as if they were identical.

Being a deity of the desert, god of fire, which is one of negative aspects of the sun, god of the underworld, and also being a god of one of the religions which rivaled Christianity and Judaism, Nergal was sometimes called a demon and even identified with Satan. According to Collin de Plancy and Johann Weyer, Nergal was depicted as the chief of Hell’s “secret police”, and worked as “an honorary spy in the service of Beelzebub”.

Haushos

One of the most important goddesses of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is the personification of dawn as a beautiful young woman. Her name is reconstructed as Hausōs (PIE *hewsṓs- or *hausōs-, an s-stem), besides numerous epithets.

Derivatives of *hewsṓs in the historical mythologies of Indo-European peoples include Indian Uṣas, Greek Ēōs, Latin Aurōra, and Baltic Aušra (“dawn”, c.f. Lithuanian Aušrinė). Germanic *Austrōn- is from an extended stem *hews-tro-.

The name *hewsṓs is derived from a root *hwes / *au̯es “to shine”, thus translating to “the shining one”. Both the English word east and the Latin auster “south” are from a root cognate adjective *aws-t(e)ro-. Also cognate is aurum “gold”, from *awso-. The name for “spring season”, *wes-r- is also from the same root.

Besides the name most amenable to reconstruction, *h₂ewsṓs, a number of epithets of the dawn goddess may be reconstructed with some certainty. Among these is *wenos- (also an s-stem), whence Sanskrit vanas “loveliness; desire”, used of Uṣas in the Rigveda, and the Latin name Venus and the Norse Vanir.

The name indicates that the goddess was imagined as a beautiful nubile woman, who also had aspects of a love goddess. The love goddess aspect was separated from the personification of dawn in a number of traditions, including Roman Venus vs. Aurora, and Greek Aphrodite vs. Eos.

The name of Aphrodite Άφροδίτη may still preserve her role as a dawn goddess, etymologized as “she who shines from the foam [ocean]” (from aphros “foam” and deato “to shine”). J.P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams (1997) have also proposed an etymology based on the connection with the Indo-European dawn goddess, from *abhor- “very” and *dhei “to shine”. Other epithets include Erigone “early-born” in Greek.

The dawn goddess was also the goddess of spring, involved in the mythology of the Indo-European new year, where the dawn goddess is liberated from imprisonment by a god (reflected in the Rigveda as Indra, in Greek mythology as Dionysus and Cronus).

The abduction and imprisonment of the dawn goddess, and her liberation by a heroic god slaying the dragon who imprisons her, is a central myth of Indo-European religion, reflected in numerous traditions. Most notably, it is the central myth of the Rigveda, a collection of hymns surrounding the Soma rituals dedicated to Indra in the new year celebrations of the early Indo-Aryans.

Tiamat

In Mesopotamian religion, Tiamat is a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the god of fresh water) to produce younger gods. She is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation. Depicted as a woman she represents the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon.

It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is a creator goddess, through a “Sacred marriage” between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second “Chaoskampf” Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos.

The Babylonian epic Enuma Elish is named for its incipit: “When above” the heavens did not yet exist nor the earth below, Apsu the freshwater ocean was there, “the first, the begetter”, and Tiamat, the saltwater sea, “she who bore them all”; they were “mixing their waters”.

It is thought that female deities are older than male ones in Mesopotamia and Tiamat may have begun as part of the cult of Nammu, a female principle of a watery creative force, with equally strong connections to the underworld, which predates the appearance of Ea-Enki.

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The foundations of modern calculus – Jupiter

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 3, 2016

What is perhaps more surprising is the sophistication with which they tracked the planet, judging from inscriptions on a small clay tablet dating to between 350 B.C. and 50 B.C.

The tablet, a couple of inches wide and a couple of inches tall, reveals that the Babylonian astronomers employed a sort of precalculus in describing Jupiter’s motion across the night sky relative to the distant background stars. Until now, credit for this kind of mathematical technique had gone to Europeans who lived some 15 centuries later.

Analysis of an ancient codebreaking tablet has revealed that Babylonian astronomers had calculated the movements of Jupiter using an early form of geometric calculus some 1,400 years before we thought the technique was invented by the Europeans.

This means that these ancient Mesopotamian astronomers had not only figured out how to predict Jupiter’s paths more than 1,000 years before the first telescopes existed, but they were using mathematical techniques that would form the foundations of modern calculus as we now know it.

The planet Jupiter has been known since ancient times. It is visible to the naked eye in the night sky and can occasionally be seen in the daytime when the Sun is low. To the Babylonians, this object represented their god Marduk. They used Jupiter’s roughly 12-year orbit along the ecliptic to define the constellations of their zodiac.

For people living in the ancient city of Babylon, Marduk was their patron god, and thus it is not a surprise that Babylonian astronomers took an interest in tracking the comings and goings of the planet Jupiter, which they regarded as a celestial manifestation of Marduk.

The Babylonian name for the planet was Ninib, another name for the ancient Sumerian god Ninurta. In very early times, Ninurta was regarded as a king of the gods and a powerful dragon -slayer. However, he was replaced in the hearts and minds of the Mesopotamian people by Marduk, a “younger” god and another dragon-slayer, associated with the planet Jupiter.

Ninurta, or more properly Ninib, survived as a god of agriculture, a kind of celestial magistrate over fields and their bounderies – and, by extension, the bounderies and limits of consciousness that are suggested by Saturn’s position as the visible limit of the solar system. He also governed the irrigation technology that helped move the ancient Mesopotamia along the road to achievement, and that made the fields prosper.

Ninurta was a Sumerian and the Akkadian god of hunting and war. In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil. In variant mythology, his mother is said to be the harvest goddess Ninhursag. The consort of Ninurta was Ugallu in Nippur and Bau when he was called Ningirsu.

He was worshipped in Babylonia and Assyria and in Lagash he was identified with the city god Ningirsu. In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib and Ninip, and in early commentary he was sometimes portrayed as a solar deity.

In another legend, Ninurta battles a birdlike monster called Imdugud (Akkadian: Anzû); a Babylonian version relates how the monster Anzû steals the Tablets of Destiny from Enlil. The Tablets of Destiny were believed to contain the details of fate and the future. Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the “Slain Heroes”. Eventually, Anzû is killed by Ninurta who delivers the Tablet of Destiny to his father, Enlil.

There are many parallels with both and the story of Marduk (son of Enki) who slew Tiamat and delivered the Tablets of Destiny from Kingu to his father, Enki.

In the astral-theological system Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn, or perhaps as offspring or an aspect of Saturn. In his capacity as a farmer-god, there are similarities between Ninurta and the Greek Titan Kronos, whom the Romans in turn identified with their Titan Saturn.

In the late neo-Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused Ninurta’s character with that of Nergal. The two gods were often invoked together, and spoken of as if they were one divinity.

The Romans named it after Jupiter (Latin: Iuppiter, Iūpiter) (also called Jove), the principal god of Roman mythology, whose name comes from the Proto-Indo-European vocative compound *Dyēu-pəter (nominative: *Dyēus-pətēr, meaning “Father Sky-God”, or “Father Day-God”). In turn, Jupiter was the counterpart to the mythical Greek Zeus, also referred to as Dias, the planetary name of which is retained in modern Greek.

The astronomical symbol for the planet is a stylized representation of the god’s lightning bolt. The original Greek deity Zeus supplies the root zeno-, used to form some Jupiter-related words, such as zenographic.

Jovian is the adjectival form of Jupiter. The older adjectival form jovial, employed by astrologers in the Middle Ages, has come to mean “happy” or “merry”, moods ascribed to Jupiter’s astrological influence.

The Chinese, Koreans and Japanese called it the “wood star”, based on the Chinese Five Elements. Chinese Taoism personified it as the Fu star. The Greeks called it Φαέθων, Phaethon, “blazing”. In Vedic astrology, Hindu astrologers named the planet after Brihaspati, the religious teacher of the gods, and often called it “Guru”, which literally means the “Heavy One”.

 

Then, think about how much understanding and knowledge we lost when Iraq was attacked by the imperialists in the 2003 war – no, it is not ok!

Names of the Planets

Ninib

This ancient Babylonian map of Jupiter just changed history as we know it

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