Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Ereshkigal and Gugalanna

Posted by Fredsvenn on November 3, 2015

Uraš

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. Aurora is the Latin word for dawn, and the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology and Latin poetry. Like Greek Eos and Rigvedic Ushas (and possibly Germanic Ostara), Aurora continues the name of an earlier Indo-European dawn goddess, Hausos.

Hausos

Ur/Ar/As/Is/Ash/Ast/Ost/Kur/Hur

Portasar, the old name of what is now called Gobekle Tepe which is a direct translation of Armenian “Portasar” which means Mountain Navel, is a great ritualistic-religious-scientific building, which is situated in the Western Armenia and has 18,500-years-old history.

An omphalos is a religious stone artifact, or baetylus. In Greek, the word omphalos means “navel”. Omphalos stones marking the centre were erected in several places about the Mediterranean Sea. In the ancient world of the Mediterranean, it was a powerful religious symbol. The symbolic references included the uterus, the phallus, and a cup of red wine representing royal blood lines. It was not only a religious symbolism and world centrality; it was also considered an object of power.

Among the Ancient Greek, it was a widespread belief that Delphi was the center of the world. According to the myth regarding the founding of the Delphic Oracle, Zeus, in his attempt to locate the center of the earth, launched two eagles from the two ends of the world, and the eagles, starting simultaneously and flying at equal speed, crossed their paths above the area of Delphi.

From this point, Zeus threw a stone from the sky to see where it will fall. The stone fell at Delphi, which since then was considered to be the center of the world, the omphalos – “navel of the earth”. Indeed, the same stone thrown by Zeus took the same name and became the symbol of Apollo, the sacred Oracle and more generally of the region of Delphi.

Most accounts locate the Delphi omphalos in the adyton (sacred part of the temple) near the Pythia (oracle). The stone sculpture itself (which may be a copy), has a carving of a knotted net covering its surface, and a hollow center, widening towards the base. The omphalos represents the stone which Rhea wrapped in swaddling clothes, pretending it was Zeus, in order to deceive Cronus.

Omphalos stones were believed to allow direct communication with the gods. Holland (1933) suggested that the stone was hollow to allow intoxicating vapours breathed by the Oracle to channel through it. Erwin Rohde wrote that the Python at Delphi was an earth spirit, who was conquered by Apollo and buried under the Omphalos. However, understanding of the use of the omphalos is uncertain due to destruction of the site by Theodosius I and Arcadius in the 4th century CE.

Turkey presents Armenian Portasar to the world as a Turkish Stonehenge. Vachagan Vahradyan, candidate of biological sciences, adviser and chief scientist to the Armenian scientific party of Oxford University’s ‘Stones and Stars’ project, said that the Turks ascribe the establishment of Portasar to themselves.

However, Portasar is situated in the South of the Armenian Highlands, 15 km south-east from the old city Urha/Edessa, Urfa/ of Armenian Mesopatamia. The discovery of the cultural layers/three layers/ of Portasar shows that it was a religious-ritual centre for sedentary people for several millenniums. The territory is in Armenian cultural area.

Edessa (Classical Syriac: Urhāy; Armenian: Yedesia or Uṙha; Arabic: Er Ruha or Ar-Ruha;, Kurdish: Urfa or Riha; Turkish: Urfa, Ourfa, Sanli Urfa, or Şanlıurfa, “Glorious Urfa”), was an ancient city in upper Mesopotamia, refounded on an earlier site by Seleucus I Nicator, and is now Şanlıurfa, Turkey.

By etymology the name “Urha” is Armenian, the word “Hurrian” HUR comes from Armenian “fire”, the Kingdom of Mitanni is considered to be one of several proto-Armenian Kingdom’s. AR, HAR, ER, HER, YER, HOR, KHAR, KHOR, UR, HUR, KHUR have the same meaning.

The vocal can change, just the consonant keeps on. Ar, Ur, Er, Ir etc – and that word are made by one consonant and one or two vocals, which can change their place on either side of the consonant. According to a number of scholars, Ar, was a shorter version of Ara or Arar(ich), Creator.

The worship of Ar was wide spread amongst early Armenians who worshipped this deity and simply called him the Creator (Ara or Ararich). 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 name of the city was Adma (Aramaic: also written Adme, Admi, Admum) which first appeared in Assyrian cuneiform sources in the 7th century BC. A Hellenistic settlement was founded on the location of the Syrian town by Seleucus I Nicator in 304 BC.

The new settlement was named “Edessa” after the ancient capital of Macedonia, perhaps due to its abundant water, just like its Macedonian eponym. The native Syriac name of the city, “Orhay”, appears to correspond with the toponym Antiochia Kallirhoe “Antioch by the Kallirhoe”, which is found on Edessan coins struck by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164 BC). The meaning of Callirhoe is “Beautifully flowing”.

When ancient Armenians built Portasar about 12,000 years ago there was already some kind of level of sophisticated organization which was surely required to accomplish such a massive undertaken for its time period. According to Carl Schmidt, in the Armenian highland the haven was divided into constellations even 12-18 thousand years ago.

Urartu, corresponding to the biblical Kingdom of Ararator Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili) was an Iron Age kingdom centered on Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. Strictly speaking, Urartu is the Assyrian term for a geographical region, while “kingdom of Urartu” or “Biainili lands” are terms used in modern historiography for the Urartian-speaking Iron Age state that arose in that region. This language appears in inscriptions. Though there is no written evidence of any other language being spoken in this kingdom, it is argued on linguistic evidence that Proto-Armenian came in contact with Urartian at an early date (3rd-2nd millennium BC).

Urartu is cognate with the Biblical Ararat, Akkadian Urashtu, and Armenian Ayrarat. Scholars believe that Urartu is an Akkadian variation of Ararat of the Old Testament. Indeed, Mount Ararat is located in ancient Urartian territory, approximately 120 km north of its former capital. In addition to referring to the famous Biblical mountain, Ararat also appears as the name of a kingdom in Jeremiah 51:27, mentioned together with Minni and Ashkenaz.

That a distinction should be made between the geographical and the political entity was already pointed out by König (1955). The landscape corresponds to the mountainous plateau between Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, the Iranian Plateau, and the Caucasus mountains, later known as the Armenian Highlands. The kingdom rose to power in the mid-9th century BC, but was conquered by Media in the early 6th century BC. The heirs of Urartu are the Armenians and their successive kingdoms.

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. In Sumerian literature it is described as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them. It 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.

Scholars such as Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt (1910) believed that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after their god Khaldi (Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi or Hayk). Hayk or Hayg, also known as Haik Nahapet (Hayk the Tribal Chief) is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation. His shrine was at Ardini (“sun rising” or to “awake”), known as Muṣaṣir (Akkadian for Exit of the Serpent/Snake), in Assyrian.

Asha is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Vedic language ṛta) for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism.” Its Old Persian equivalent is arta-. In Middle Iranian languages the term appears as ard-.

The significance of the term is complex, with a highly nuanced range of meaning. It is commonly summarized in accord with its contextual implications of “truth” and “right(eousness)”, “order” and “right working”. The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie.”

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, bow and arrows, and shields hung off the walls and were sometimes known as ‘the house of weapons’.

Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt mentions 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, meaning Guardian of Aryan Land.

In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.

Uraš – Ninhursag

Uraš or Urash, in Sumerian mythology is a goddess of earth, and one of the consorts of the sky god Anu. From Sumerian texts, the language used to describe Urash is very similar to the language used to describe Ninhursag. Therefore, the two goddesses may be one and the same. Ninhursag was a great mother goddess, the goddess of childbirth, queen of the mountains, an aspect of the Earth Goddess Ki.

Ninhursag was a mother goddess of the mountains. Her hair is sometimes depicted in an omega shape. 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. Urash is the mother of the goddess Ninsun (“lady wild cow”) and a grandmother of the hero Gilgamesh.

However, Uras may only have been another name for Antum, Anu’s wife. Antu was replaced as consort by Ishtar or Inanna, who may also be a daughter of Anu and Antu. The name Uras even became applied to Anu himself, and acquired the meaning “heaven”. Ninurta also was apparently called Uras in later times.

Nisaba

Nisaba, goddess of grain and scribes, appears on separate occasions as the daughter of Enlil, of Uraš, of Ea, and of Anu. She is the sister of Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh, and in some other tales she is considered the mother of Ninlil, and by extension, the mother-in-law of Enlil. This implies that Nidaba could be at once the daughter and the mother-in-law of Enlil.

In a debate between Nidaba and Grain, Nidaba is syncretised with Ereškigal as “Mistress of the Underworld”. Nidaba is also identified with the goddess of grain Ašnan, and with Nanibgal/Nidaba-ursag/Geme-Dukuga, the throne bearer of Ninlil and wife of Ennugi, throne bearer of Enlil.

Haya (god) is the spouse of Nisaba and in some cases identified as father of the goddess Ninlil. Haya is known both as a “door-keeper” and associated with the scribal arts, and may have had an association with grain. He might an “agrig”-official of the god Enlil. He is designated as “the Nissaba of wealth”, as opposed to his wife, who is the “Nissaba of Wisdom”.

The god of wisdom, Enki, organized the world after creation and gave each deity a role in the world order. Nisaba was named the scribe of the gods, and Enki then built her a school of learning so that she could better serve those in need. She keeps records, chronicles events, and performs various other bookwork-related duties for the gods. She is also in charge of marking regional borders.

She is the chief scribe of Nanshe. On the first day of the new year, she and Nanshe work together to settle disputes between mortals and give aid to those in need. Nisaba keeps a record of the visitors seeking aid and then arranges them into a line to stand before Nanshe, who will then judge them. Nisaba is also seen as a caretaker for Ninhursag’s temple at Kesh, where she gives commands and keeps temple records.

As the goddess of writing and teaching, she was often praised by Sumerian scribes. Many clay-tablets end with the phrase (DINGIR.NAGA.ZAG.SAL; nisaba za-mi), “Nisaba be praised” to honor the goddess. She is considered the teacher of both mortal scribes and other divine deities. In the Babylonian period, she was replaced by the god Nabu, who took over her functions. In some instances, Nisaba was his instructor or wife before he replaced her.

As the goddess of knowledge, she is related to many other facets of intellectual study and other gods may turn to her for advice or aid. Some of these traits are shared with her sister Ninsun. She is also associated with grain, reflecting her association with an earth goddess mother.

Ninlil is mainly known as the wife of Enlil, the head of the early Mesopotamian pantheon, and later of Aššur, the head of the Assyrian pantheon. She first appears in the late fourth millennium BCE and survived into the first centuries CE. She was at times syncretised with various healing and mother goddesses as well as with the goddess Ištar.

Reconstructing her original functions depends in part on how the second part of her name is interpreted. A common but very uncertain interpretation translates Ninlil’s name as “Queen of the breeze,” assigning Ninlil the same domain as Enlil.

Because Ninlil primarily appears as Enlil’s consort, she shares some of his characteristics (e.g., his characteristics as creator, father of the gods, head of the pantheon, giver of life). Through her syncretisms she also took on aspects of healing and mother goddesses, but these seem to be secondary rather than original functions. Her epithets include “Queen of the heavens and the earth, queen of the lands” or “Lady of the gods” and “foremost lady of the Anunna gods”.

When Enlil was syncretised with Aššur, the highest god of the Assyrian pantheon, Ninlil consequently became Aššur’s wife and was identified with Šeru’a. In Herodotus’ Histories, Ninlil under the name Mylitta was identified as the Assyrian version of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. It is possible that this identification was due to Ninlil’s syncretism with Ištar as the goddess of love and war.

Ereshkigal

In Mesopotamian mythology, 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”). 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. 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. She was originally a sky goddess kidnapped and taken to the underworld where she became queen. It was said that she had been stolen away by Kur and taken to the underworld, where she was made queen unwillingly.

Gugalanna

In some versions of the myths, she rules the underworld by herself, sometimes with a husband subordinate to her named Gugalana (Sumerian: GU.GAL.AN.NA, “the Great Bull of Heaven”), better known as the Bull of Heaven (Sumerian: GU₄.AN.NA), a Sumerian deity as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

Gugalanna was sent by the gods to take retribution upon Gilgamesh for rejecting the sexual advances of the goddess Inanna. Gugalanna, whose feet made the earth shake, was slain and dismembered by Gilgamesh and his companion Enkidu. Inanna looked down from the city walls and Enkidu shook the haunches of the bull at her, threatening to do the same if he ever caught her. He is later killed for this impiety.

Gugalanna was the first husband of the Goddess Ereshkigal, the Goddess of the Realm of the Dead, a gloomy place devoid of light. It was to share the sorrow with her sister that Inanna later descends to the Underworld.

Taurus was the constellation of the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring 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 Orion facing Taurus as if in combat while others think it represent the sun’s obscuring of the constellation as it rose on the morning of the equinox.

“Between the period of the earliest female figurines circa 4500 B.C. … a span of a thousand years elapsed, during which the archaeological signs constantly increase of a cult of the tilled earth fertilised by that noblest and most powerful beast of the recently developed holy barnyard, the bull – who not only sired the milk yielding cows, but also drew the plow, which in that early period simultaneously broke and seeded the earth.

Moreover by analogy, the horned moon, lord of the rhythm of the womb and of the rains and dews, was equated with the bull; so that the animal became a cosmological symbol, uniting the fields and the laws of sky and earth.”

Galli

Fundamental to understanding the meaning and the function of the myth and ritual related to Attis in Rome is his relationship with the Galli. The role of prototype of the mythical castration of Attis for the institution of the “priesthood” of the Galli has almost always been emphasised, even if to different degrees.

Scholars have attempted to draw a connection between the episode of the castration of Attis and the ritual mutilation of the Galli as a reflection in myth of a secondary ritual action or conversely, as the mythical foundation of a ritual action.

This kind of interpretation appears to be too simplistic as, to some extent, it fails to consider that this connection has served different purposes in different periods. The emasculation of Attis in the “Phrygian” version of the myth is the basis for an institution that is both political and religious, the institution of his priests in Pessinous, the “non-kings”, who don’t simply coincide with the Galli.

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. The first Galli arrived in Rome when the Senate officially adopted Cybele as a state goddess in 204 BC. Roman citizens were prohibited from becoming Galli, which meant that they were all orientals or slaves. Under Claudius, this ban was lifted. Eventually Domitian reaffirmed that Roman citizens were forbidden to practice eviratio (castration).

The Galli castrated themselves during an ecstatic celebration called the Dies sanguinis (“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.

Stephanus Byzantinus said that the name came from King Gallus. Ovid (43 BC – 17 AD) says that the name is derived from the Gallus river in Phrygia. The name may be linked to the Gauls (Celtic tribes) of Galatia in Anatolia, who were known as Galli by the Romans. The word “Gallus” is also the Latin word for rooster, also known as a cockerel or cock, a male gallinaceous bird, usually a male chicken (Gallus gallus).

Nergal is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the deity of the city of Cuth (Cuthah): “And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal” (2 Kings, 17:30). According to the rabbins, his emblem was a cock and Nergal means a “dunghill cock”, although standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion. As with nearly any aspect of the body involved in sexual or excretory functions, the penis is the subject of many slang words and euphemisms for it, a particularly common and enduring one being “cock”.

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.

In Mesopotamia there was a category of 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/Ishtar.

Inanna 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.”

In her most famous pose as Daksinakali, popular legends say that Kali, drunk on the blood of her victims, is about to destroy the whole universe when, urged by all the gods, Shiva lies in her way to stop her, and she steps upon his chest. Recognizing Shiva beneath her feet she calms herself. Though not included in any of the Puranas popular legends state that Kali was ashamed at the prospect of keeping her husband beneath her feet and thus stuck her tongue out in shame.

Archigallus

The earliest references to the Galli come from the Anthologia Palatina although they don’t explicitly mention emasculation. More interesting is the fragment attributed to Callimachus, in which the term Gallai denotes castration that has taken place.

The high priests are well-documented from archaeology. At Pessinus, the centre of the Cybele cult, there were two high priests during the Hellenistic period, one with the title of “Attis” and the other with the name of “Battakes”. Both were eunuchs.

The high priests had considerable political influence during this period, and letters exist from a high priest Attis to the kings of Pergamon, Eumenes II and Attalus II, inscribed on stone. Later, during the Flavian period, there was a college of ten priests, not castrated, and now Roman citizens, but still using the title “Attis”.

In Rome, the head of the galli was known as the archigallus, at least from the period of Claudius on. A number of archaeological finds depict the archigallus wearing luxurious and extravagant costumes. The archigallus was always a Roman citizen chosen by the quindecimviri sacris faciundis, whose term of service lasted for life.

Being a Roman citizen, as well as being employed by the Roman State, meant that the archigallus had to preserve the traditions of Cybele’s cult while not violating Roman prohibitions in religious behavior. Hence, the archigallus was never a eunuch, as all citizens of Rome were forbidden from emasculation. The signs of his office have been described as a type of crown, possibly a laurel wreath, as well as a golden bracelet known as the occabus.

Along with the institution of the archigallus came the Phrygianum sanctuary as well as the rite of the taurobolium as it pertains to the Magna Mater, two aspects of the Magna Mater’s cultus that the archigallus held dominion over.

The priesthood of the Archigallus is variously described as either being instituted sometime during the Imperial reign of Claudius (41-54 CE) or Antoninus Pius (137-161 CE). The Archigallus was always a Roman citizen chosen by the Quindecemviri Sacris Faciundis, whose term of service lasted for life.

As a Roman citizen, as well as being employed by the Roman State, meant that the Archigallus must adhere to the laws and regulations of Roman Cult behavior. Hence, the Archigallus was never a eunuch, as all citizens of Rome were forbidden from emasculation. The signs of his office have been described as a type of crown, possibly a laurel wreath, as well as a golden bracelet known as the occabus.

Along with the institution of the Archigallus came the Phrygianum sanctuary as well as the rite of the Taurobolium as it pertains to the Magna Mater, two aspects of the Magna Mater’s cultus that the Archigallus held dominion over. The Phrygianum was built on Mons Vaticanus, where today sits St. Peter’s Basilica of the Vatican City. It was here at this sanctuary where the Archigallus would perform the rite of the Taurobolium for the citizens of Rome, as well as be consecrated as the Summus Sacerdos or High Priest.

The Archigallus was understood to be capable of prophecy and for this reason we know that it was understood that the Taurobolium was only performed by the sanctioning of the Magna Mater Herself, of which the Archigallus served as Her voice for Rome.

The Archigallus is reported to have had dreams, presumably via incubation rites, as well as interpret the dreams of others who sought him out in regards to whether or not the Taurobolium should be conducted for a particular individual. It was under the sole authority of the Archigallus that the Taurobolium could be performed, not even the Emperor himself could call for its execution.

Other than the Taurobolium, the Archigallus participated in all rites concerning the Magna Mater that dealt with the Roman State. It was through the Archigallus and His rites that the Magna Mater’s blessings of health and well-being were conferred on the Emperor, the Imperial family, the Senate, the army and the Roman State and people as a whole.

Hel

In Norse mythology, Hel (Old Norse Hel, “Hidden”, from the word hel, “to conceal”), also known as Hella, Holle or Hulda, is a giantess and goddess who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead, the underworld where the dead dwell, which was known as Niflheim, or Helheim, the Kingdom of the Dead.

Hel was the daughter of Loki and a giantess. Her siblings are the wolf Fenrir and the snake Jormungand. She was half alive, half dead. Half of her face is beautiful, reminiscent of her father, while the other half is ugly and difficult to look at like her mother. She is described as half white/half blue, or half living/half rotten.

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, also known as Kālikā, is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, or shakti. She is the fierce aspect of the goddess Durga. The name of Kali means black one and force of time; she is therefore called the Goddess of Time, Change, Power, Creation, Preservation, and Destruction. Her earliest appearance is that of a destroyer principally of evil forces.

Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman; and recent devotional movements re-imagine Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess. She is often portrayed standing or dancing on her husband, the god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her.

In the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and Heimskringla, Hel is referred to as a daughter of Loki, and to “go to Hel” is to die. 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.

Jacob Grimm theorized that Hel (whom he refers to here as Halja, the theorized Proto-Germanic form of the term) is essentially an “image of a greedy, unrestoring, female deity” and that “the higher we are allowed to penetrate into our antiquities, the less hellish and more godlike may Halja appear.

Of this we have a particularly strong guarantee in her affinity to the Indian Bhavani, who travels about and bathes like Nerthus and Holda, but is likewise called Kali or Mahakali, the great black goddess. In the underworld she is supposed to sit in judgment on souls. This office, the similar name and the black hue […] make her exceedingly like Halja. And Halja is one of the oldest and commonest conceptions of our heathenism.”

Grimm theorizes that the Helhest, a three legged-horse that roams the countryside “as a harbinger of plague and pestilence” in Danish folklore, was originally the steed of the goddess Hel, and that on this steed Hel roamed the land “picking up the dead that were her due.” In addition, Grimm says that a wagon was once ascribed to Hel, with which Hel made journeys.

The old Old Norse word Hel derives from Proto-Germanic *khalija/*haljō, which means “one who covers up or hides something”, which itself derives from Proto-Indo-European *kel-, meaning “conceal”. The cognate in English is the word Hell which is from the Old English forms hel and helle. Related terms are Old Frisian, helle, German Hölle and Gothic halja. Other words more distantly related include hole, hollow, hall, helmet and cell, all from the aforementioned Indo-European root *kel-.

The word Hel is found in Norse words and phrases related to death such as Helför (“Hel-journey,” a funeral) and Helsótt (“Hel-sickness,” a fatal illness). The Norwegian word “heilag/hellig” which means “sacred” is directly related etymologically to the name “Hel”, and the same goes for the English word “holy”.

Both Hel and Heimdallr are strongly connected to the rune Haglaz or Hagalaz (Hag-all-az) – literally: “Hail” or “Hailstone” – Esoteric: Crisis or Radical Change. Interesting enough to notice that “heil” is also a name of this rune when it has a protection aspect, as heil/heilag comes from Hel, and the word “heil” was also found in the “Heil og Sæl” (an old norse way to greet which means “to good health and happiness”).

The reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the h-rune ᚺ, meaning “Hag-all-az” – Literally: “Hail” or “Hailstone”. In the Anglo-Saxon futhorc, it is continued as hægl and in the Younger Futhark as ᚼ hagall. The corresponding Gothic letter is h, named hagl.

Hail is a form of solid precipitation. It is distinct from sleet, though the two are often confused for one another It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is called a hailstone. Sleet falls generally in cold weather while hail growth is greatly inhibited at cold temperatures.

Hail shocks you with stinging hardness (confrontation) then it melts into water which creates germination of seeds (transformation). The ancients describe hail as a grain rather than as ice, thus creating a metaphor for a deeper truth of life. It contains the seed of all the other runic energies and this can be seen in its other form, a six-fold snowflake. Spiritual awakening often comes from times of deep crisis.

Underworld

Hell appears in several mythologies and religions. It is commonly inhabited by demons and the souls of dead people. A fable about hell which recurs in folklore across several cultures is the allegory of the long spoons. Hell is often depicted in art and literature, perhaps most famously in Dante’s Divine Comedy.

In many mythological, folklore and religious traditions, hell is a place of torment and punishment in an afterlife. It is viewed by most Abrahamic traditions as punishment. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as eternal destinations. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations. Typically these traditions locate hell in another dimension or under the Earth’s surface and often include entrances to Hell from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations include Heaven, Purgatory, Paradise, and Limbo.

Other traditions, which do not conceive of the afterlife as a place of punishment or reward, merely describe hell as an abode of the dead, the grave, a neutral place located under the surface of Earth. Hell is sometimes portrayed as populated with demons who torment those dwelling there. Many are ruled by a death god such as Nergal, Hades, Hel, Enma or the Devil.

The cultures of Mesopotamia (including Sumeria, the Akkadian Empire, Babylonia and Assyria), the Hittites and the Canaanites/Ugarits reveal some of the earliest evidence for the notion of a Netherworld or Underworld. From among the few texts that survive from these civilizations, this evidence appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the “Descent of Inanna to the Netherworld,” “Baal and the Underworld,” the “Descent of Ishtar” and the “Vision of Kummâ.”

Kur/Irkalla/Aralu

In Mesopotamian mythology, Kur (Sumerian) or Ersetu (Akkadian) is the underworld from which there is no return. It was also called earth of no return, Kurnugia in Sumerian and Erset la tari in Akkadian. Kur is ruled by the goddess Ereshkigal and her consort, the death god Nergal, a son of Enlil and Ninlil, along with Nanna and Ninurta.

Irkalla was originally another name for Ereshkigal, who ruled the underworld alone until Nergal was sent to the underworld and seduced Ereshkigal (in Babylonian mythology). Both the deity and the location were called Irkalla, much like how Hades in Greek mythology is both the name of the underworld and the god who ruled it.

The Sumerian netherworld was a place for the bodies of the dead to exist after death. One passed through the seven gates on their journey through the portal to the netherworld leaving articles of clothing and adornment at each gate, not necessarily by choice as there was a guardian at each gate to extract a toll for one’s passage and to keep one from going the wrong way.

The living spirits of the dead are only spoken of in connection with this netherworld when someone has been placed here before they are dead or wrongly killed and can be saved. The bodies of the dead decompose in this afterlife, as they would in the world above.

Irkalla had no punishment or reward, being seen as a more dreary version of life above, with Erishkigal being seen as both warden and guardian of the dead rather than a sinister ruler like Satan or death gods of other religions.

Sumerian names are: a.rá, arali, bùr, ganzer, idim, ki, kir, kiši, kukku (darkness), kur, kur.gi, kunugi / kurnugia (earth of no return), lam / lamma, lamḫu, uraš, urugal, erigal (grave/ great city) and ZÉ. Akkadian names are: ammatu, arali/ arallû, bīt ddumuzi (house of Dumuzi), danninu, erṣetu, erṣetu la târi (earth of no return), ganzer / kanisurra, ḫaštu, irkalla, kiūru, kukkû (darkness), kurnugû (earth of no return), lammu, mātu šaplītu en qaqqaru.

Hell

The modern English word Hell is derived from Old English hel, helle (about 725 AD to refer to a nether world of the dead) reaching into the Anglo-Saxon pagan period, and ultimately from Proto-Germanic *halja, meaning “one who covers up or hides something.”

The word has cognates in Latin (see verb cēlō, “to hide”) and in related Germanic languages such as Old Frisian helle, hille, Old Saxon hellja, Middle Dutch helle (modern Dutch hel), Old High German helle (Modern German Hölle), Danish, Norwegian and Swedish helvede/helvete (hel + Old Norse vitti, “punishment” whence the Icelandic víti “hell”), and Gothic halja. Subsequently, the word was used to transfer a pagan concept to Christian theology and its vocabulary.

Some have theorized that English word hell is derived from Old Norse hel. However, this is very unlikely as hel appears in Old English before the Viking invasions. Furthermore, the word has cognates in all the other Germanic languages and has a Proto-Germanic origin.

Among other sources, the Poetic Edda, compiled from earlier traditional sources in the 13th century, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, provide information regarding the beliefs of the Norse pagans, including a being named Hel, who is described as ruling over an underworld location of the same name.

Viticulture

Viticulture (from the Latin word for vine) is the science, production, and study of grapes. It deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. When the grapes are used for winemaking, it is also known as viniculture. It is a branch of the science of horticulture.

Caelus

Caelus or Coelus was a primal god of the sky in Roman myth and theology, iconography, and literature (compare caelum, the Latin word for “sky” or “the heavens”, hence English “celestial”). The deity’s name usually appears in masculine grammatical form when he is conceived of as a male generative force, but the neuter form Caelum is also found as a divine personification.

According to Cicero and Hyginus, Caelus was the son of Aether and Dies (“Day” or “Daylight”). Caelus and Dies were in this tradition the parents of Mercury. With Trivia, Caelus was the father of the distinctively Roman god Janus, as well as of Saturn and Ops.

Caelus was also the father of one of the three forms of Jupiter, the other two fathers being Aether and Saturn. In one tradition, Caelus was the father with Tellus of the Muses, though was this probably a mere translation of Ouranos from a Greek source.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: