Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The two opposites

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 2, 2016

The cosmogenic myth common in Sumer was that of the hieros gamos, a sacred marriage where divine principles in the form of dualistic opposites came together as male and female to give birth to the cosmos.

As with Ares and Aphrodite, Mars and Venus, Shiva and Kali, Tyr and Hel, An-Tammuz/ Gugalanna-Nergal and Inanna/Ereshkigal, Ninhursag/Enki, and Enlil/Ninlil, Dyeu Phter (“Sky father”) and Pltwih Méhter (“Earth mother”) represents the two opposites in nature.

Chaos kampf / Hieros gamos

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.

Hieros gamos or Hierogamy (“holy marriage”) refers to 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.

Puruli / Akitu

Puruli was a Hattian spring festival, held at Nerik, dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, who is married to a new king. The central ritual of the Puruli festival is dedicated to the destruction of the dragon Illuyanka by the storm god Teshub. The corresponding Assyrian festival is the Akitu of the Enuma Elish. Also compared are the Canaanite Poem of Baal and Psalms 93 and 29.

Dawn goddes – Venus

Aurora is the Latin word for dawn, and the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology and Latin poetry. She renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun. She has two siblings, a brother (Sol, the sun) and a sister (Luna, the moon).

Like Greek Eos and Rigvedic Ushas (and possibly Germanic Ostara), Aurora continues the name of an earlier Indo-European dawn goddess, Hausos, one of the most important goddesses of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion.

Hausōs is the personification of dawn as a beautiful young woman. Derivatives of *hewsṓs in the historical mythologies of Indo-European peoples include Indian Uṣas, Greek Eōs, 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.

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).

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.

The name indicates that the goddess was imagined as a beautiful nubile woman, who also had aspects of a love goddess. As a consequence, 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 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 been 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.

Usha

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.

Indra is the leader of the Devas and the lord of Svargaloka or a level of Heaven in Hinduism. He is the deva of rain and thunderstorms. He wields a lightning thunderbolt known as vajra and rides on a white elephant known as Airavata. His horse’s name is Uchchaihshrava.

Indra is the most important deity worshiped by the Rigvedic tribes and is the son of Dyaus and the goddess Savasi. His home is situated on Mount Meru in the heavens. He is celebrated as a demiurge who pushes up the sky, releases Ushas (dawn) from the Vala cave (“enclosure”), and slays Vṛtra (“enveloper”), a serpent or dragon, the personification of drought and adversary of Indra. Both latter actions are central to the Soma sacrifice.

Parallel to Vrtra “the blocker”, a stone serpent slain by Indra to liberate the rivers, Vala is a stone cave, split by Indra (intoxicated and strengthened by Soma, identified with Brhaspati in 4.50 and 10.68 or Trita in 1.52, aided by the Angirasas in 2.11), to liberate the cows and Ushas, hidden there by the Panis, a class of demons in the Rigveda, from paṇi-, a term for “bargainer, miser,” especially applied to one who is sparing of sacrificial oblations.

Ushas is an exalted goddess in the Rig Veda but less prominent in post-Rigvedic texts. She is often spoken of in the plural, “the Dawns.” She is portrayed as warding off evil spirits of the night, and as a beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot on her path across the sky. Due to her color she is often identified with the reddish cows, and both are released by Indra from the Vala cave at the beginning of time.

In one recent Hindu interpretation, Sri Aurobindo in his Secret of the Veda, described Ushas as “the medium of the awakening, the activity and the growth of the other gods; she is the first condition of the Vedic realisation. By her increasing illumination the whole nature of man is clarified; through her [mankind] arrives at the Truth, through her he enjoys [Truth’s] beatitude.”

Shiva (Lingam) – Shakti (Yoni)

The Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra. The lingam (also linga, ling, Shiva linga, Shiv ling, meaning sign, or symbol) 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”.

The Sanskrit term, liṅgaṃ broadly means symbol or mark, but could have different meanings based on the context. In Shaivite Hindu temples, the lingam is a smooth cylindrical mass symbolising Shiva and is worshipped as a symbol of generative power. It is found at the centre of the temple often resting in the middle of a rimmed, disc-shaped yoni, a representation of Shakti.

An oval shaped Lingam is also the closest representation of the formless aspect of the Divine. The shape of a Lingam maximizes the length of time for which it can hold energy in harmony and balance.

Omphalo

An omphalos is a religious stone artifact, or baetylus. In Greek, the word omphalos means “navel”. 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.

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. In the ancient world of the Mediterranean, it was a powerful religious symbol.

Ekur

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 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”). This was carried-on into later tradition in the Bible by the prophet Micah who envisions “the mountain of the temple of Yahweh”.

Axis Mundi

The axis mundi (also cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, center of the world, world tree), in certain beliefs and philosophies, is the world center, or the connection between Heaven and Earth. As the celestial pole and geographic pole, it expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms.

Communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones and be disseminated to all. The spot functions as the omphalos (navel), the world’s point of beginning.

The image is mostly viewed as feminine, as it relates to the center of the earth (perhaps like an umbilical providing nourishment). Its proximity to heaven may carry implications that are chiefly religious (pagoda, temple mount, minaret, church) or secular (obelisk, lighthouse, rocket, skyscraper).

It may have the form of a natural object (a mountain, a tree, a vine, a stalk, a column of smoke or fire) or a product of human manufacture (a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire).

Æsir (Mars) – Vanir (Venus)

In Old Norse, ǫ́ss (or áss, ás, plural æsir; feminine ásynja, plural ásynjur) is the term denoting a member of the principal pantheon in the indigenous Germanic religion known as Norse religion. This pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr.

The cognate term in Old English is ōs (plural ēse) denoting a deity in Anglo-Saxon paganism. The Old High German is ans, plural ensî. The Gothic language had ans- (based only on Jordanes who glossed anses with uncertain meaning, possibly ‘demi-god’ and presumably a Latinized form of actual plural *anseis). The reconstructed Proto-Germanic form is *ansuz (plural *ansiwiz).

Æsir is the plural of áss, óss “god” (gen. āsir) which is attested in other Germanic languages, e.g., Old English ōs (gen. pl. ēsa) and Gothic (as reported by Jordanes) anses “half-gods”. These all stem from Proto-Germanic *ansis ~ ansuz, which itself comes from Proto-Indo-European *hénsus (gen. hn̥sóus) “life force” (cf. Avestan aŋhū “lord; lifetime”, ahura “godhood”, Sanskrit ásu “life force”, ásura “god” (< *hn̥suró)). It is widely accepted that this word is further related to *h₂ens- “to engender” (cf. Hittite hass- “to procreate, give birth”, Tocharian B ās- “to produce”).

Old Norse áss has the genitive áss or ásar, the accusative æsi and ásu. In genitival compounds, it takes the form ása-, e.g. in Ása-Þórr “Thor of the Aesir”, besidesás- found in ás-brú “gods’ bridge” (the rainbow), ás-garðr, ás-kunnigr “gods’ kin”, ás-liðar “gods’ leader”, ás-mogin “gods’ might” (especially of Thor), ás-móðr”divine wrath” etc. Landâs “national god” (patrium numen) is a title of Thor, as is allmáttki ás “almighty god”, while it is Odin who is “the” ás.

The feminine’s -ynja suffix is known from a few other nouns denoting female animals, such as apynja “female monkey”, vargynja “she-wolf”. The word for “goddess” is not attested outside Old Norse.

The second pantheon comprises the Vanir, 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.

Numerous theories have been proposed for the etymology of Vanir. Scholar R. I. Page says that, while there are no shortages of etymologies for the word, it is tempting to link the word with “Old Norse vinr, ‘friend’, and Latin Venus, ‘goddess of physical love.'”

In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage the Æsir-Vanir War, which results in a unified pantheon. 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. The war is an important event in Norse mythology, and the implications for the potential historicity surrounding accounts of the war are a matter of scholarly debate and discourse.

A

The a-rune was named after the æsir. Ansuz is the conventional name given to the a-rune of the Elder Futhark. The name is based on Common Germanic *ansuz “a god, one of the main deities in Germanic paganism”.

In the Norwegian rune poem, óss is given a meaning of “estuary” while in the Anglo-Saxon one, ōs takes the Latin meaning of “mouth”. The Younger Futhark rune is transliterated as ą to distinguish it from the new ár rune, which continues the jēran rune after loss of prevocalic *j- in Proto-Norse *jár (Old Saxon jār).

Since the name is attested in the Gothic alphabet as ahsa or aza, the common Germanic name of the rune may thus either have been *ansuz “god”, or*ahsam “ear (of wheat)”. The Anglo-Saxon futhorc split the Elder Futhark a rune into three independent runes due to the development of the vowel system in Anglo-Frisian. These three runes are ōs (transliterated o), æsc “ash” (transliterated æ) and ac “oak” (transliterated a).

The shape of the rune is likely from Neo-Etruscan a, like Latin A ultimately from Phoenician aleph. Aleph is the first letter of the Semitic abjads. The Phoenician letter is derived from an Egyptian hieroglyph depicting an ox’s head and gave rise to the Greek Alpha (Α), being re-interpreted to express not the glottal consonant but the accompanying vowel, and hence the Latin A and Cyrillic А.

Taurus (Latin for “the Bull”) is one of the constellations of the zodiac, which means it is crossed by the plane of the ecliptic. The brightest member of this constellation is Aldebaran. The name derives from al-dabarān, Arabic for “the follower”, probably from the fact that it follows the Pleiades during the nightly motion of the celestial sphere across the sky.

Forming the profile of a Bull’s face is a V or A-shaped asterism of stars. This outline is created by prominent members of the Hyades. In this profile, Aldebaran forms the bull’s bloodshot eye, which has been described as “glaring menacingly at the hunter Orion”, a constellation that lies just to the southwest.

In Greek mythology, the Hyades were the five daughters of Atlas and half-sisters to the Pleiades. After the death of their brother, Hyas, the weeping sisters were transformed into a cluster of stars that was afterwards associated with rain.

Anshar – Kishar

An – Ki 

An (from Sumerian: An (“sky, heaven”)) is 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. His attendant and vizier was the god Ilabrat.

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.

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.

An/Anu frequently receives the epithet “father of the gods,” and many deities are described as his children in one context or another. 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.

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 Enūma eliš. 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.

KI is the sign for “earth”. It is also read as GI, GUNNI (=KI.NE) “hearth”, KARAŠ (=KI.KAL.BAD) “encampment, army”, KISLAḪ (=KI.UD) “threshing floor”. In Akkadian orthography, it functions as a determiner for toponyms and has the syllabic values gi, ge, qi, and qe.

As an earth goddess in Sumerian mythology, Ki was the chief consort of An, the sky god. In some legends Ki and An were brother and sister, being the offspring of Anshar (“Sky Pivot”) and Kishar (“Earth Pivot”), earlier personifications of heaven and earth.

By her consort Anu, Ki gave birth to the Anunnaki, the most prominent of these deities being Enlil, god of the air. According to legends, heaven and earth were once inseparable until Enlil was born; Enlil cleaved heaven and earth in two. An carried away heaven. Ki, in company with Enlil, took the earth.

Some authorities question whether Ki was regarded as a deity since there is no evidence of a cult and the name appears only in a limited number of Sumerian creation texts. Samuel Noah Kramer identifies Ki with the Sumerian mother goddess Ninhursag and claims that they were originally the same figure.

She later developed into the Babylonian and Akkadian goddess Antu, consort of the god Anu (from Sumerian An). In Akkadian mythology, Antu or Antum was the first consort of Anu, and the pair were the parents of the Anunnaki and the Utukki.

Antu was a dominant feature of the Babylonian akit festival until as recently as 200 BC, her later pre-eminence possibly attributable to identification with the Greek goddess Hera. Antu was replaced as consort by Ishtar or Inanna, who may also be a daughter of Anu and Antu.

Nammu

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 (also Namma, spelled ideographically NAMMA = ENGUR), a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat 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 Nammu 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.

First Point of Aries

The First Point 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.

March Equinox

The March equinox or Northward equinox is the equinox on the Earth when the Sun appears to leave the southern hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from earth. In the Northern Hemisphere the March equinox is known as the vernal equinox, and in the Southern Hemisphere as the autumnal equinox.

Pisces – Aries

Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Tammuz (Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”), the name of a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries.

Taurus

Taurus (Latin for “the Bull”) is one of the constellations of the zodiac, which means it is crossed by the plane of the ecliptic. 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 GU.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.

In early Mesopotamian art, the Bull of Heaven was closely associated with Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. One of the oldest depictions shows the bull standing before the goddess’ standard; since it has 3 stars depicted on its back (the cuneiform sign for “star-constellation”), there is good reason to regard this as the constellation later known as Taurus.

 

 

To the Egyptians, the constellation Taurus was a sacred bull that was associated with the renewal of life in spring. When the spring equinox entered Taurus, the constellation would become covered by the Sun in the western sky as spring began. This “sacrifice” led to the renewal of the land.

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.

Ereshkigal

In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal (DEREŠ.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. It was said that she had been stolen away by Kur and taken to the underworld, where she was made queen unwillingly.

The goddess 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”). Her trip and return to the underworld is the most familiar of the myths concerning Ereshkigal.

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. Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that a living being can begin a new life in a different body after biological death. This is also called rebirth or transmigration, and is a part of the Saṃsāra doctrine of cyclic existence.

Childbirth, also known as labour and delivery, is the culmination of a period of pregnancy with the expulsion of one or more newborn infants from a woman’s uterus.

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.

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.

In some versions of the myths, Ereshkigal rules the underworld by herself, sometimes with a husband subordinate to her named Gugalana.

Nergal

Nergal is a son of Enlil and Ninlil, along with Nanna and Ninurta. He 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.

Nergal’s fiery aspect appears in names or epithets such as Lugalgira, Lugal-banda (Nergal as the fighting-cock), Sharrapu (“the burner,” a reference to his manner of dealing with outdated teachings)[citation needed], Erra, Gibil (though this name more properly belongs to Nusku), and Sibitti or Seven. In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters (Messier 45 or M45), is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus.

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”.

In Greek mythology, Gemini was associated with the myth of Castor and Pollux, the children of Leda and Argonauts both. 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.

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.

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”.

Mars – Venus

Tammuz – Inanna

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.

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.

According to some scholars, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is built over a cave that was originally a shrine to Adonis-Tammuz. The Church of the Nativity is a basilica located in Bethlehem, West Bank. The church was 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 of Nazareth.

Adonis – Aphrodite

Adonis, in Greek mythology, is a central figure in various mystery religions. In 1966, Wahib Attalah wrote that the “cult of Adonis belonged to women,” and further asserted “the cult of dying Adonis was fully developed in the circle of young girls around Sappho on Lesbos, about 600 BC, as a fragment of Sappho reveals.”

There has been much scholarship over the centuries concerning the multiple roles of Adonis, if any, and his meaning and purpose in Greek religious beliefs. Modern scholarship sometimes describes him as an annually renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity whose nature is tied to the calendar. His name is often applied in modern times to handsome youths, of whom he is the archetype.

The Greek Adōnis was a borrowing from the Canaanite word ʼadōn, meaning “lord”, which is related to Adonai, one of the names used to refer to the God of the Hebrew Bible and still used in Judaism to the present day. Syrian Adonis is Gauas or Aos, akin to Egyptian Osiris, the Semitic Tammuz and Baal Hadad, the Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis, all of whom are deities of rebirth and vegetation.

Adonis is the Hellenized form of the Phoenician word “adoni”, meaning “my lord”. It is believed that the cult of Adonis was known to the Greeks from around the sixth century BC, but it is unquestionable that they came to know it through contact with Cyprus. Around this time, the cult of Adonis is noted in the Book of Ezekiel in Jerusalem, though under the Babylonian name Tammuz.

Cybele – Attis

Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”; Lydian Kuvava) 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 Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies around the 6th century BCE. In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, her Minoan equivalent Rhea, and the Harvest-Mother goddess Demeter.

Uniquely in Greek religion, she had a transgender or eunuch mendicant priesthood. Many of her Greek cults included rites to a divine Phrygian castrate shepherd-consort Attis. In Greece, Cybele is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions.

Attis was the consort of Cybele in Phrygian and Greek mythology. His priests were eunuchs, the Galli, as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis and castration. Attis was also a Phrygian god of vegetation, and in his self-mutilation, death, and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth, which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.

Balder – Nanna

Baldr (“lord, prince, king”) is a god in Norse mythology, who is given a central role in the mythology. Despite this his precise function is rather disputed. He is 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. According to Gylfaginning, a book of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, Baldr’s wife is Nanna and their son is 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.

 

 

Maat – Isfet

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.

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

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 (ca. 2375 BCE and 2345 BCE).

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. Pharaohs are often depicted with the emblems of Maat to emphasise their role in upholding the laws of the Creator.

Asha – druj

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.”

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’. Its Old Persian equivalent is arta-.[c] In Middle Iranian languages the term appears as ard-.[a]

The word is also the proper name of the divinity Asha, the Amesha Spenta that is the hypostasis or “genius” of “Truth” or “Righteousness”. In the Younger Avesta, this figure is more commonly referred to as Asha Vahishta (Aša Vahišta, Arta Vahišta), “Best Truth”.[b] The Middle Persian descendant is Ashawahist or Ardwahisht; New Persian Ardibehesht or Ordibehesht.

The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie.” In Avestan, druj- has a secondary derivation, the adjective drəguuaṇt- (Later Avestan druuaṇt-), “partisan of deception, deceiver” for which the superlative draojišta- and perhaps the comparative draoj(ii)ah- are attested.

The draugr or draug (Old Norse: draugr, plural draugar; modern Icelandic: draugur, Faroese: dreygur and Danish, Swedish and Norwegian: draugen), also called aptrganga or aptrgangr, literally “again-walker” (Icelandic: afturganga) is an undead creature from Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology.

The word draugr can be traced to a Proto-Indo European stem *dʰrowgʰos “phantom”, from *dʰrewgʰ- “deceive”. The Old Norse meaning of the word is a revenant.

Taoism

Taoism (also called Daoism) is a spiritual, philosophical and religious tradition of Chinese origin that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (also romanized as Dao). The term Tao means “way”, “path”, or “principle”, and can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. In Taoism, however,Tao denotes something that is both the source of, and the force behind, everything that exists.

Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the tenets of the School of Yin Yang, and is heavily influenced and informed by the acknowledged oldest text of ancient Chinese classics, the I Ching, which prescribes a system of philosophical thought on the ethics of human behaviors based on articulating cycles of change in the natural and social worlds by means of hexagrams, and includes instructions for divination practice still adhered to by modern-day religious Taoists. Daoism, as Taoism is sometimes referred, diverged sharply from Confucian thoughts by scorning rigid rituals and social classes.

Taoist propriety and ethics may vary depending on the particular school, but in general they tend to emphasize wu-wei (action through non-action), “naturalness”, simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: jing (sperm/ovary energy, or the essence of the physical body), qi (energy, including the thoughts and emotions), and shen (spirit or spiritual power).

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (also yin-yang or yin yang “dark—bright”) describes how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, fire and water, expanding and contracting) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality symbolized by yin and yang. This duality lies at the origins of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy, as well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine, and a central principle of different forms of Chinese martial arts and exercise, such as baguazhang, taijiquan (t’ai chi), and qigong (Chi Kung), as well as appearing in the pages of theI Ching.

Duality is found in many belief systems but Yin and Yang are parts of a Oneness that is also equated with the Dao. A term has been coined dualistic-monism or dialectical monism. Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.

Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation. The yin yang (i.e. taijitu symbol) shows a balance between two opposites with a portion of the opposite element in each section.

In Daoist metaphysics, distinctions between good and bad, along with other dichotomous moral judgments, are perceptual, not real; so, the duality of yin and yang is an indivisible whole. In the ethics of Confucianism on the other hand, most notably in the philosophy of Dong Zhongshu (c. 2nd century BC), a moral dimension is attached to the idea of yin and yang.

Ying, also Yin, Yn, from Chinese yīn (“shade”), is feminine, and is represented by the moon, while yang (“sun”), is positive, and is represented by the male genitals. In Chinese philosophy, the feminine or negative principle is characterized by dark, wetness, cold, passivity, disintegration, etc., of the two opposing cosmic forces into which creative energy divides and whose fusion in physical matter brings the phenomenal world into being. The masculine or positive principle is characterized by light, warmth, dryness, activity, etc.

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