Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The new golden age

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 15, 2016

In mythology, Ceres is the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth, and is the goddess of agriculture.

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.

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 Hannahannah (from Hittite hanna- “grandmother”), a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna.

In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and childbirth, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was eventually equated with the Greek goddess Artemis.

Diana had a shrine in Rome on the Aventine hill, according to tradition dedicated by king Servius Tullius, himself born a slave. Its location is remarkable as the Aventine is situated outside the pomerium, i.e. original territory of the city, in order to comply with the tradition that Diana was a goddess common to all Latins and not exclusively of the Romans.

Being placed on the Aventine, and thus outside the pomerium, meant that Diana’s cult essentially remained a foreign one, like that of Bacchus; she was never officially transferred to Rome as Juno was after the sack of Veii.

Diana was regarded with great reverence and was a patroness of lower-class citizens, called plebeians, and slaves; slaves could receive asylum in her temples. This fact is of difficult interpretation. Georg Wissowa proposed the explanation that it might be because the first slaves of the Romans must have been Latins of the neighbouring tribes. However, in Ephesus too there was the same custom of the asylum.

Diana was initially just the hunting goddess, associated with wild animals and woodlands. She also later became a moon goddess, supplanting Titan goddess Luna. She also became the goddess of childbirth and ruled over the countryside. Catullus wrote a poem to Diana in which she has more than one alias: Latonia, Lucina, Iuno, Trivia, Luna.

Trivia was the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, the three-way crossroads and the harvest moon. She was an underworld Titan-goddess who assisted Jove in the Titanomachy and was therefore able to keep her powers.

Trivia was a friend of Ceres and helped her to find her daughter Proserpina. As a part of her role as an underworld goddess, she was known as the Queen of Ghosts. Although she helped Ceres to find her daughter, she was also known to steal young maidens to assist her in her powers. These women later became nymphs.

Her association for Romans of the first century BCE with Artemis was so thorough that Lucretius identifies the altar of the goddess at the sacrifice of Iphianassa (Iphigeneia) in Aulis as Triviai virginis aram.

Christopher Siren reports that Hannahannah is associated with the Gulses. In Hurrian mythology, the Hutena are goddesses of fate. They are similar to the Norns of Norse mythology or the Moirai of ancient Greece.

Uttu in Sumerian mythology is the goddess of weaving and clothing. Her name means “the woven” and she was illustrated as a spider in a web. Enki succumbs to temptation, and attempts seduction of Uttu. Upset about Enki’s reputation, Uttu consults Ninhursag, who, upset at the promiscuous wayward nature of her spouse, advises Uttu to avoid the riverbanks, the places likely to be affected by flooding, the home of Enki.

In another version of this myth Ninhursag takes Enki’s semen from Uttu’s womb and plants it in the earth where eight plants rapidly germinate. Enki had eaten forbidden flowers and was then cursed by Ninhursaga, who was later persuaded by the other gods to heal him. Uttu bears seven new child/trees from Enki, the eighth being the Ti (Tree of “Life”, associated with the “Rib”). Some scholars suggest that this served as the basis for the story of Eve created from Adam’s rib in the Book of Genesis.

Ninti, the title of Ninhursag, also means “the mother of all living”, and was a title given to the later Hurrian goddess Kheba. This is also the title given in the Bible to Eve, the Hebrew and Aramaic Ḥawwah, who was made from the rib of Adam, in a strange reflection of the Sumerian myth, in which Adam – not Enki – walks in the Garden of Paradise.

In Sumerian religion, Ninlil (“lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, is the consort goddess of Enlil. After her death, she became the goddess of the wind, like Enlil. As “Lady Wind” she may be associated with the figure of the Akkadian demon “Lil-itu”, thought to have been the origin of the Hebrew Lilith legend.

In Jewish folklore, from Alphabet of Ben Sira (ca 700-1000 CE) onwards, Lilith appears as Adam’s first wife, who was created at the same time (Rosh Hashanah) and from the same earth as Adam (Genesis 1:27). This contrasts with Eve, who was created from one of Adam’s ribs (Genesis 2:22).

The legend developed extensively during the Middle Ages, in the tradition of Aggadic midrashim, the Zohar, and Jewish mysticism. For example, in the 13th-century writings of Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob ha-Cohen, Lilith left Adam after she refused to become subservient to him and then would not return to the Garden of Eden after she had coupled with the archangel Samael.

Samael was an important archangel in Talmudic and post-Talmudic lore, a figure who is an accuser (satan), seducer and destroyer, and has been regarded as both good and evil. One of Samael’s greatest roles in Jewish lore is that of the main archangel of death.

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, the land of the dead or underworld).

In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal (D.EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”), though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.

Sometimes Ereshkigal is given the name 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”).

As Hel (Old Norse Hel, “Hidden”), a giantess and goddess in Norse mythology who rules over Helheim, the underworld where the dead dwell, she was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom.

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.

Bhavani is a ferocious aspect of the Hindu goddess Parvati, the Hindu goddess of fertility, love and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power. Bhavani means “giver of life”, the power of nature or the source of creative energy. In addition to her ferocious aspect, she is also known as Karunaswaroopini, “filled with mercy”.

Parvati, the wife of the Hindu god Shiva – the destroyer, recycler and regenerator of universe and all life, is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the Hindu goddess Shakti and one of the central deities of the Goddess-oriented Shakta sect.

Parvati is the mother goddess in Hinduism and has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu stories of India.

Parvati, or in her demon-fighting aspect, Durga, is the goddess of power, love, and spiritual fulfillment, as well as consort of Śhiva, the destroyer or transformer. She also represents the transformational power of divinity, the power that dissolves the multiplicity of the Hindu gods into their unity.

Durga (“Invincible”) is the principal form of the Goddess, also known as Devi and Shakti in Hinduism. Durga the mahashakti, the form and formless, is the root cause of creation, preservation and annihilation.

According to legend, Durga manifested herself for the slaying of the buffalo demon Mahisasura  from Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the lesser gods, who were otherwise powerless to overcome him.

She is pure Shakti, having manifested herself within the gods so that she may fulfill the tasks of the universe via them. At times of distress, such as the mahishasura episode, to protect the universe she manifests herself via the gods.

Along with Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and prosperity) and Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and learning), Parvati (Durga or Mahakali) forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses (Tridevi), a concept in Hinduism joining the three consorts of theTrimurti, or the Great Trinity.

Saraswati is the goddess of learning, arts, and cultural fulfillment, as well as consort of Brahmā, the creator. She is cosmic intelligence, cosmic consciousness, and cosmic knowledge.

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fertility, and material fulfillment, as well as consort of Vishnu, the maintainer or preserver. However, Lakshmi does not signify mere material wealth, but also abstract prosperity, such as glory, magnificence, joy, exaltation, and greatness.

With Shiva, Parvati is a central deity in the Shaiva sect. In Hindu belief, she is the recreative energy and power of Shiva, and she is the cause of a bond that connects all beings and a means of their spiritual release. In Hindu temples dedicated to her and Shiva, she is symbolically represented as the argha or yoni.

Shakti (“to be able”), meaning “power” or “empowerment,” is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe. In Shaktism and Shaivism, Shakti is worshipped as the Supreme Being. Shakti embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva and is identified as Tripura Sundari or Parvati.

Kālī is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, or shakti. She is the mighty 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 consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her. Kali is worshipped by Hindus throughout India but particularly South India, Bengal, and Assam.

Mahakali (literally translated as “Great Kali”) is etymologically the feminized variant of Mahakala (“Great Time”), which is interpreted also as Death, an epithet of the God Shiva in Hinduism.

Mahakali is the Hindu Goddess of time and death, considered to be the consort of Shiva the God of consciousness, and the basis of Reality and existence. According to the Markendeya Purana she is an aspect of the goddess Durga.

Mahakali is the form of the Goddess Durga (Parvati) beyond time, Kali, who is the force of the anger of Durga and is an aspect of Durga or Adi parashakti, and therefore her color is black. She is believed to be the greatest aspect of Kali whom many Hindus hold as a Divine Mother.

Shiva (Śiva, meaning “The Auspicious One”, also known as Mahadeva (“Great God”), is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. According to Hindu mythology, Shiva is in the form of Vishnu and Brahma yet one with them. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition, and “the Transformer”.  Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam.

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.

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.

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.

Shivini or Artinis (the present form of the name is Artin, meaning “sun rising” or to “awake”, and persists in Armenian names to this day) was a solar god in the mythology of the Urartu. He is the third god in a triad with Khaldi and Theispas. The Assyrian god Shamash is a counterpart to Shivini. He was depicted as a man on his knees, holding up a solar disc.

Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known asTiwaz 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.

Týr is a 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 Ziuand Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is Tius or Tio. 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.

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”. As with Hel, Inanna/Ishtar’s trip and return to the underworld is the most familiar of the myths concerning Ereshkigal.

Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat, the mother goddess of the Hurrians, 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, an originally 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 first half of the 6th century BCE.

Hebat is married to Teshub, the Hurrian god of sky and storm. Teshub 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.

The Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin—he was conceived when the god Kumarbi, the chief god of the Hurrians, 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. Kumarbi was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil, and by the Ugaritians with El.

Ḫaldi (also known as Khaldi or Hayk) was one of the three chief deities of Urartu (Ararat). 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 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.”

Adad in Akkadian and Ishkur in Sumerian, are the names of the storm-god in the Akkadian,  Assyrian and Babylonian pantheon. The two names are usually written by the logogram dIM. The Akkadian god Adad was the northwest Semitic god Hadad introduced to Mesopotamia most probably by the Amorites.

In Akkadian, Adad is also known as Ramman (“Thunderer”) cognate with Aramaic Rimmon which was a byname of the Aramaic/ Arabic Hadad. Ramman was formerly incorrectly taken by many scholars to be an independent Assyrian-Babylonian god later identified with the Amorite god Hadad.

The Sumerian Ishkur appears in the list of gods found at Fara but was of far less importance than the Akkadian Adad later became, probably partly because storms and rain are scarce in southern Babylonia and agriculture there depends on irrigation instead. Also, the gods Enlil and the Assyrian Ninurta also had storm god features which decreased Ishkur’s distinctiveness. He sometimes appears as the assistant or companion of one or the other of the two.

When Enki distributed the destinies, he made Ishkur inspector of the cosmos. In one litany Ishkur is proclaimed again and again as “great radiant bull, your name is heaven” and also called son of An, lord of Karkara; twin-brother of Enki, lord of abundance, lord who rides the storm, lion of heaven.

In other texts Adad/Ishkur is sometimes son of the moon god Nanna/Sin by Ningal and brother of Utu/Shamash and Inanna/Ishtar. He is also occasionally son of Enlil.

Adad/Ishkur’s consort (both in early Sumerian and later Assyrian texts) was Shala, a goddess of grain, who is also sometimes associated with the god Dagan. She was also called Gubarra in the earliest texts. The fire god Gibil (named Gerra in Akkadian) is sometimes the son of Ishkur and Shala.

Adad/Ishkur’s special animal is the bull. He is naturally identified with the Anatolian storm-god Teshub. Occasionally Adad/Ishkur is identified with the god Amurru, the god of the Amorites.

According to the Babylonian Mul.Apin, which dates from 1000–686 BCE, Virgo 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. Virgo is often portrayed carrying two sheaves of wheat, one of which is marked by the bright star Spica.

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.

The name comes from the Greek Boōtēs, meaning herdsman or plowman (literally, ox-driver; from bous “cow”).  In ancient Babylon the stars of Boötes were known as SHU.PA. They were apparently depicted as the god Enlil, who was the leader of the Babylonian pantheon and special patron of farmers.

Ceres (and metaphorically the planet) is 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. For some astrologers Ceres is the ruling planet of Virgo.

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.

Ceres, as the Goddess who has control over nature’s resources and cycles, may astrologically be considered the planet of the Environment. Returning to mythology, an early environmental villain is the figure of Erysichthon, the tearer up of the earth, who cut down trees in a grove sacred to Ceres-Demeter, for which he was punished by the goddess with fearful hunger.

In this sense Ceres became an emerging archetype in the awareness of recent climate change, and is entering our collective consciousness as a need to take care of our natural and irreplaceable resources in the 21st century. Ceres represents a leap towards a future of ecological responsibility and knowledge. As an indicator for environmental or community activism, Ceres would represent for some astrologers the wave of the future.

The Aventine Triad (also referred to as the plebeian Triad or the agricultural Triad) is a modern term for the joint cult of the Roman deities Ceres, the daughter of Cronus (Njord/God) and Rhea, Liber (Freyr/Jesus) and Libera (Freyja/Maria). The cult was established ca. 493 BC within a sacred district (templum) on or near the Aventine Hill, traditionally associated with the Roman plebs. Later accounts describe the temple building and rites as “Greek” in style.

Rheḁ͜ is the Titaness daughter of the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Uranus, in Greek mythology and sister and wife to Cronus. In early traditions, she is known as “the mother of gods” and therefore is strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, who have similar functions. The classical Greeks saw her as the mother of the Olympian goddesses and gods, but not as an Olympian goddess in her own right. The Romans identified her with Magna Mater (their form of Cybele), and the Goddess Ops.

In Greek mythology, Cronus, also known as Kronos, was the leader and youngest of the first generation of Titans, the divine descendants of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth. He overthrew his father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own son Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus.

Cronus was usually depicted with a harpe, scythe or a sickle, which was the instrument he used to castrate and depose Uranus, his father. In Athens, on the twelfth day of the Attic month of Hekatombaion, a festival called Kronia was held in honour of Cronus to celebrate the harvest, suggesting that, as a result of his association with the virtuous Golden Age, Cronus continued to preside as a patron of harvest. Cronus was also identified in classical antiquity with the Roman deity Saturn.

The Aventine Triad, temple and associated ludi (games and theatrical performances) served as a focus of plebeian identity, sometimes in opposition to Rome’s original ruling elite, the patricians. Some modern historians describe the Aventine Triad as a plebeian parallel and self-conscious antithesis to the archaic Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus and the later Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Minerva and Juno.

The Spring Triangle is an astronomical asterism involving an imaginary triangle drawn upon the celestial sphere, with its defining vertices at Arcturus, Spica, and Regulus. This triangle connects the constellations of Boötes, Virgo, and Leo. It is visible rising in the south eastern sky of the northern hemisphere between March and May.

George Lovi of Sky & Telescope magazine had a slightly different Spring triangle, including the tail of Leo, Denebola, instead of Regulus. Denebola is dimmer, but the triangle is more nearly equilateral.

In Norse mythology, the Vanir are a group of gods associated with fertility, wisdom, nature, magic, and the ability to see the future. All sources describe the deities Njörðr, Freyr and Freyja as members of the Vanir.

Njörðr is the father of the deities Freyr and Freyja by his unnamed Vanir sister, was in an ill-fated marriage with the goddess Skaði, lives in Nóatún and is associated with sea, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth, and crop fertility.

The Vanir are one of two groups of gods (the other being the Æsir) and are the namesake of the location Vanaheimr (Old Norse “Home of the Vanir”). After the Æsir–Vanir War, the Vanir became a subgroup of the Æsir. Subsequently, members of the Vanir are sometimes also referred to as members of the Æsir.

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.

Besides the name most amenable to reconstruction, *hewsṓs, 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.

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