Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The sun on the sky – the master of the sun, the ecliptic and the equinox

Posted by Fredsvenn on November 27, 2016

Bilderesultat for sumerian cities

How Odin (Enki – Mercury) took the place of Tyr (Nergal – Mars), Njord (Enlil – Saturn) took the place of his wife Nerthus (Earth) / Njorun (Jord) (Nerio) or Hel (Prosperina / Diana / Artemis – Ereshkigal) went down to the underworld.

Dionysus (Tammuz – Balder) share a lot in common with Tyr (Nergal – Mars). His wife Ariadne was just like Frigg / Freyja or the Sumerian goddess Uttu a weaving goddess. The wife of Balder was Nanna. It is a reason to believe Frigg/Freyja and Nanna was the same goddess – they are all connected to Venus.  

This is also the story of how the beginning of the year shiftet from March to January / February, two months connected with Enki / Isimud – Janus – Odin, and Enlil – Saturn – Njord.  

Mars: Nergal – Mars – Tyr

Aries: Tammuz – Dionysus – Balder

Enlil (North – Polar Star) – Saturn – Njord

Enki (Capricorn / Mercury) – Janus – Odin

XXX

1. generation: An – Caelus (Celestial) – Ecliptic

2. generation: Enlil (Polar Star) / Enki / Enlil – Saturn – Solstice

3. generation: Nergal (Mars) / Tammuz (Aries) – Mars / Dionysus – Equinox

Karahundj – Armenia’s Stonehenge

Ar – Ast – Star

History of Astronomy in Armenia

Karahundj – Armenia’s Stonehenge

The Origin of the Zodiac

Bilderesultat for zodiac yerevan

Yerevan – Zodiac

The Armenian Zodiac, Kino Moskva, Yerevan, Armenia

Astrology, in its broadest sense, is the search for purpose in the heavens

The zodiac (Greek: zōdiakos) is the term used to describe the circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude that are centred upon the ecliptic – the path of the sun. The term zodiac derives from Latin zōdiacus, which in its turn comes from the Greek zōdiakos kuklos, meaning “circle of animals”.

From the earliest of times, the zodiac has been universally used to predict or reflect characteristics of personality, whether from the Chinese, Mesopotamian, Indus Valley, Egyptian or any other culture, echoing the ancient philosophy ‘As above – so below’… what we today call astrology.

We know from ancient records that the Greeks inherited their knowledge of the heavens primarily from the Mesopotamians, who in turn inherited their knowledge from the Sumerians. But is there any evidence of the heavenly constellations in art or culture from before this time.

While it is traditionally claimed that the earliest reference to the zodiac originates with the Babylonians, the discovery of an observatory in Metsamor, Armenia, predating the Babylonian kingdom by almost 2,000 years has changed our perception of events as the observatory at Metsamor apparently contains the first recorded example of dividing the year into 12 sections. Using an early form of geometry, the inhabitants of Metsamor were able to create both a calendar and envision the curve of the earth.

The discovery of the astronomical ‘observatory’ at Metsamor and the presence of engravings which have been speculatively called ‘zodiac creatures’ has given credence to the assertion that the ancient figures of the constellations were probably created by ancient peoples living in the Euphrates valley and near Mount Ararat in eastern Anatolia and Armenia: Rick Ney, the author of ‘Karahundj, The Armenian Stonehenge’, says of it:

“Parsamian’s discovery at Metsamor, and the stones at Sissian give concrete credence to Maunder’s and Olkott’s theories, especially when coupled with ca. 4,000–3,000 BC stone carvings of zodiac figures on rocks on the Geghama Mountain Range in Armenia.” Armenia is one of the cradles of ancient science, and astronomical knowledge was developed in ancient Armenia as well. Armenia contains some of the most significant cultural examples of sacred geometry, as well as other remarkable prehistoric structures.

Contrary to its small territory and relatively small population, Armenia was and is rather active in astronomy. Astronomy in Armenia was popular since ancient times: there are signs of astronomi­cal observations coming from a few thousand years ago.

Among the astronomical activities that have left their traces in the territory of Armenia are: the rock art (numerous petroglyphs of astronomical content), ruins of ancient observatories (two of them, Karahunge and Metzamor are especially well known.

Zorats Karer, also known as Karahunge is the Armenian twin of the Stonehenge and is considered even older), the ancient Armenian calendar, astronomical terms and names used in Armenian language since II-I millennia B.C., sky maps from Middle Ages, and most important, one of the largest modern observatories in the region, the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) with its 2.6m and 1m Schmidt telescopes.

While it is traditionally claimed that the earliest reference to the zodiac originates with the Babylonians, the discovery of an observatory in Metsamor, Armenia, predating the Babylonian kingdom by almost 2,000 years has changed our perception of events as the observatory at Metsamor apparently contains the first recorded example of dividing the year into 12 sections. Using an early form of geometry, the inhabitants of Metsamor were able to create both a calendar and envision the curve of the earth.

The discovery of the astronomical ‘observatory’ at Metsamor and the presence of engravings which have been speculatively called ‘zodiac creatures’ has given credence to the assertion that the ancient figures of the constellations were probably created by ancient peoples living in the Euphrates valley and near Mount Ararat in eastern Anatolia and Armenia: Rick Ney, the author of ‘Karahundj, The Armenian Stonehenge’, says of it:

“Parsamian’s discovery at Metsamor, and the stones at Sissian give concrete credence to Maunder’s and Olkott’s theories, especially when coupled with ca. 4,000–3,000 BC stone carvings of zodiac figures on rocks on the Geghama Mountain Range in Armenia.”

Karahundj near Sissian consist of a stone circle, now shown to be a prehistoric observatory, long predates Stonehenge in England. Ancient inscriptions found here may mark the birthplace of the Zodiac – and of Civilisation itself.

They sit like soldiers on a hill, huddled in formation. The 204 stones near Sissian have been ascribed with mystical, fertility and cosmic powers, but rarely have ancient monuments caused such a sensation in astronomical circles.

These simple stones stretched out along the crest of a hill overlooking the Sissian River challenge the very dating of early astronomy and the answer to the question, “Who were the first astronomers?”

If proven true, a current controversial dating of the stones at Karahundj predate England’s Stonehenge, they predate the Babylonian’s claim to being the first astronomers, and they confirm what some people already suspect: that Armenia is the birthplace of the zodiac, and perhaps the beginning of navigation and the concept of time.

Astrology

Astrological sign

Babylonian, HellenisticHindu and Ancient Egyptian astronomy

In Western astrology, astrological signs are the twelve 30° sectors of the ecliptic, starting at the vernal equinox (one of the intersections of the ecliptic with the celestial equator), also known as the First Point of Aries. The order of the astrological signs is Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.

The concept of the zodiac originated in Babylonian astrology, and was later influenced by Hellenistic culture. According to astrology, celestial phenomena relate to human activity on the principle of “as above, so below”, so that the signs are held to represent characteristic modes of expression.

The twelve sector division of the ecliptic constitutes astrology’s primary frame of reference when considering the positions of celestial bodies, from a geocentric point of view, so that we may find, for instance, the Sun in 23° Aries (23° longitude), the Moon in 7° Scorpio (217° longitude), or Jupiter in 29° Pisces (359° longitude).

Beyond the celestial bodies, other astrological points that are dependent on geographical location and time (namely, the Ascendant, the Midheaven, the Vertex and the houses’ cusps) are also referenced within this ecliptic coordinate system.

Various approaches to measuring and dividing the sky are currently used by differing systems of astrology, although the tradition of the Zodiac’s names and symbols remain consistent.

Western astrology measures from Equinox and Solstice points (points relating to equal, longest and shortest days of the tropical year), while Jyotiṣa or Vedic astrology measures along the equatorial plane (sidereal year).

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

In Western and Asian astrology, the emphasis is on space, and the movement of the Sun, Moon and planets in the sky through each of the zodiac signs. In Chinese astrology, by contrast, the emphasis is on time, with the zodiac operating on cycles of years, months, and hours of the day.

A common feature of all three traditions however, is the significance of the Ascendant — the zodiac sign that is rising (due to the rotation of the earth) on the eastern horizon at the moment of a person’s birth.

Four elemenmts

Empedocles, a fifth-century BC Greek philosopher, identified Fire, Earth, Air, and Water as elements. He explained the nature of the universe as an interaction of two opposing principles called love and strife manipulating the four elements, and stated that these four elements were all equal, of the same age, that each rules its own province, and each possesses its own individual character.

Different mixtures of these elements produced the different natures of things. Empedocles said that those who were born with near equal proportions of the four elements are more intelligent and have the most exact perceptions.

Each sign is associated with one of the classical elements, and these can also be grouped according to polarity: Fire and Air signs are considered positive or extrovert, masculine signs; while Water and Earth signs are considered negative or introvert, feminine signs.

The four astrological elements are also considered as a direct equivalent to Hippocrates’ personality types (sanguine = air; choleric = fire; melancholic = water; phlegmatic = earth). A modern approach looks at elements as “the energy substance of experience” and the next table tries to summarize their description through keywords.

Air: Gemini – Libra – Aquarius

Fire: Aries – Leo – Sagittarius

Water: Cancer – Scorpio – Pisces

Earth: Taurus – Virgo – Capricorn

Triplicity

Triplicity

Each of the four elements manifests in three modalities: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. As each modality comprehends four signs, these are also known as Quadruplicities. They are occasionally referred to as crosses because each modality forms a cross when drawn across the zodiac. Christian astrology relates the three qualities to the three aspects of God in the trinity.

The combination of element and modality provides a basic sign characterization. For instance, Capricorn is a cardinal earth sign, meaning that it is associated with action (cardinal modality) in the material world (earth element). That can translate into ambition or practical application to the concrete, everyday necessities of life. The next table displays the twelve combinations of elements and modalities.

Cardinal: Aries – Cancer – Libra – Capricorn

Fixed: Taurus – Leo – Scorpio – Aquarius

Mutable: Gemini – Virgo – Sagittarius – Pisces

Rulership

Domicile (astrology)

Rulership is the connection between planet and correlated sign and house. The traditional rulerships are as follows: Aries (Mars), Taurus (Venus), Gemini (Mercury), Cancer (Moon), Leo (Sun), Virgo (Mercury), Libra (Venus), Scorpio (Mars), Sagittarius (Jupiter), Capricorn (Saturn), Aquarius (Uranus), Pisces (Neptune).

In traditional Western astrology, each sign is ruled by one and only one of the seven visible planets (note that in astrology, the Sun and Moon are termed The Lights, while the other bodies are called planets, which literally means wanderers, i.e. wandering stars as opposed to the fixed stars).

Psychologically-oriented astrologers often believe that Uranus is the ruler or co-ruler of Aquarius instead of Saturn; Neptune is the ruler or co-ruler of Pisces instead of Jupiter, and that Pluto is the ruler or co-ruler of Scorpio instead of Mars.

Some astrologers believe that the planetoid Chiron may be the ruler of Virgo, while other group of modern astrologers claim that Ceres is the ruler of Taurus instead. Other astrologers, still, use the former planets Pallas, Vesta, Juno and Hygiea in their delineations and rulerships, for example Vesta to Taurus and Pallas to Virgo.

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

Note that, if one starts from Leo and Cancer, the traditional planetary rulers are arrayed outward in the same order from the sun as they occur in the natural solar system. Note that modern rulerships, which attribute Pluto as ruler of Scorpio, break this symmetry.

The Lights ruling Leo and Cancer, Mercury ruling Virgo and Gemini, Venus ruling Libra and Taurus, Mars ruling Scorpio and Aries, Jupiter ruling Sagittarius and Pisces, Saturn ruling Capricorn and Aquarius. The result is a symmetry of traditional rulerships across the 0° Leo/Aquarius axis.

Dignity and detriment, exaltation and fall

Dignity and Detriment – Exaltation and Fall

A traditional belief of astrology, known as essential dignity, is the idea that the Sun, Moon and planets are more powerful and effective in some signs than others, because the basic nature of both is held to be in harmony. By contrast, they are held to find some signs to be weak or difficult to operate in because their natures are thought to be in conflict. The most important of these categories are Dignity, Detriment, Exaltation and Fall.

Dignity and Detriment : A planet is strengthened or dignified if it falls within the sign that it rules. In other words, it is said to exercise Rulership of the sign. For example, the Moon in Cancer is considered “strong” (well-dignified). Seventeenth century astrologer William Lilly compared rulership to a king on his throne, with considerable dignity. If a planet is in the sign opposite that which it rules (or is dignified), it is said to be weakened or in Detriment (for example, the Moon in Capricorn).

In traditional astrology, other levels of Dignity are recognised in addition to Rulership. These are known as Exaltation, Triplicity, Terms or bounds, and Face or Decan, which together are known as describing a planet’s Essential dignity, the quality or ability to give of one’s true nature. Contemporary traditional astrologers like John Frawley or J Lee Lehman explain further on the concept of Essential Dignity.

Exaltation and Fall : In addition, a planet is also strengthened when it is in its sign of Exaltation. In traditional horary astrology, Exaltation denotes a level of dignity somewhat exaggerated compared to rulership. Exaltation was considered to give the planet (or what it signified in a horary chart) dignity, with the metaphor of an honoured guest – who is the centre of attention but the extent of their ability to act is limited. A planet in the opposite sign of its Exaltation is said to be in its Fall, and thus weakened, perhaps seemingly more so than Detriment.

The Planet in fall is passively rejected or ignored by the sign that it’s in. It can be likened to a mayor of a rival city trying to make suggestions to the hosting mayor for how he should run his city: The host mayor finds it difficult to trust him and cannot see how his input could have relevancy to his city. The people of the city feel the same as their ruler. The result is impasse and failure on behalf of both mayors and the city. There is no agreement as to the signs in which the three extra-Saturnian planets may be considered to be exalted.

In addition to essential dignity, the traditional astrologer considers Accidental dignity of planets. This is placement by house in the chart under examination. Accidental dignity is the planet’s “ability to act.” So we might have, for example, Moon in Cancer, dignified by rulership, is placed in the 12th house it would have little scope to express its good nature.

The 12th is a cadent house as are the 3rd, 6th and 9th and planets in these houses are considered weak or afflicted. On the other hand, Moon in the 1st, 4th, 7th or 10th would be more able to act as these are Angular houses. Planets in Succedent houses of the chart (2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th) are generally considered to be of medium ability to act. Besides Accidental Dignity, there are a range of Accidental Debilities, such as retrogradation, Under the Sun’s Beams, Combust, and so forth.

Examples of planets in their Exaltation:

Saturn (Libra), Sun (Aries), Venus (Pisces), Moon (Taurus), Mercury (Virgo, although some disagree to this classification), Mars (Capricorn), Jupiter (Cancer).

Decans

Decans

Each sign can be divided into three 10° sectors known as decans or decanates, though these have fallen into disuse. The first decanate is said to be most emphatically of its own nature and is ruled by the sign ruler. The next decanate is sub-ruled by the planet ruling the next sign in the same triplicity. The last decanate is sub-ruled by the next in order in the same triplicity.

While the element and modality of a sign are together sufficient to define it, they can be grouped to indicate their symbolism. The first four signs, Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer, form the group of personal signs. The next four signs, Leo, Virgo, Libra and Scorpio form the group of interpersonal signs. The last four signs of the zodiac, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces, form the group of transpersonal signs.

Dane Rudhyar presented the tropical zodiac primary factors, used in the curriculum of the RASA School of Astrology. The tropical zodiac is the zodiac of seasonal factors as opposed to the sidereal zodiac (constellation factors). The primary seasonal factors are based on the changing ratio of sunlight and darkness across the year.

The first factor is whether the chosen time falls in the half of the year when daylight is increasing, or the half of the year when darkness is increasing. The second factor is whether the chosen time falls in the half of the year when there is more daylight than darkness, or the half when there is more darkness than daylight. The third factor is which of the four seasons the chosen time falls in, defined by the first two factors.

Thus the ‘winter’ season is when daylight is increasing and there is more darkness than daylight, the ‘spring’ season is when daylight is increasing and there is more daylight than darkness, the ‘summer’ season is when darkness is increasing and there is more daylight than darkness, the ‘autumn’ season is when darkness is increasing and there is more darkness than daylight.

Planets and signs

Tammuz / Nergal – Mars (Aries and Scorpio)

Enki / Nergal – Mercury (Gemini and Virgo) 

The seven classical planets are those easily seen with the naked eye, and were thus known to ancient astrologers. They are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Sometimes, the Sun and Moon were referred to as “the lights” or the “luminaries”.

Vesta and Uranus can also just be seen with the naked eye, though no ancient culture appears to have taken note of them. The astrological descriptions attached to the seven classical planets have been preserved since ancient times.

Astrologers call the seven classical planets “the seven personal and social planets”, because they are said to represent the basic human drives of every individual. The personal planets are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars. The social or transpersonal planets are Jupiter and Saturn.

Jupiter and Saturn are often called the first of the “transpersonal” or “transcendent” planets as they represent a transition from the inner personal planets to the outer modern, impersonal planets. The outer modern planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are often called the collective or transcendental planets.

Sun – Leo

The Sun is the ruling planet of Leo and is exalted in Aries. In modern astrology, the Sun is the primary native ruler of the fifth house. The Sun is associated with Sunday. The Sun is the star at the center of our solar system, around which the Earth and other planets revolve and provides us with heat and light.

The arc that the Sun travels in every year, rising and setting in a slightly different place each day, is therefore in reality a reflection of the Earth’s own orbit around the Sun. This arc is larger the farther north or south from the equator latitude, giving a more extreme difference between day and night and between seasons during the year. The Sun travels through the twelve signs of the zodiac on its annual journey, spending about a month in each.

Astrologically speaking, the Sun is usually thought to represent the conscious ego, the self and its expression, personal power, pride and authority, leadership qualities and the principles of creativity, spontaneity, health and vitality, the sum of which is named the “life force”.

In Greek mythology, the Sun was represented by the Titans Hyperion and Helios (Roman Sol, and later by Apollo, the god of light). In Chinese astrology, the Sun represents Yang, the active, assertive masculine life principle.

In medicine, the Sun is associated with the heart, circulatory system, and the thymus. In Ayurveda, it rules over life-force (praan-shakti), governs bile temperament (pitta), stomach, bones and eyes. Dante Alighieri associated the Sun with the liberal art of music.

Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Leo. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between July 22 and August 23; the sign spans the 120th to 150th degree of celestial longitude.

Mars – Aries and Scorpio

Mars is the ruling planet of Aries and Scorpio and is exalted in Capricorn. Mars is the Roman god of war and bloodshed, whose symbol is a spear and shield. Both the soil of Mars and the hemoglobin of human blood are rich in iron and because of this they share its distinct deep red color. He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions.

In modern astrology, Mars is the primary native ruler of the first house. Traditionally however, Mars ruled both the third and tenth houses. While Venus tends to the overall relationship atmosphere, Mars is the passionate impulse and action, the masculine aspect, discipline, will-power and stamina.

Mars is associated with Tuesday and in Romance languages the word for Tuesday often resembles Mars (in Romanian, marţi, in Spanish, martes, in French, mardi and in Italian “martedì”). The English “Tuesday” is a modernised form of “Tyr’s Day”, Tyr being the Germanic analogue to Mars.

Dante Alighieri associated Mars with the liberal art of arithmetic. In Chinese astrology, Mars is ruled by the element fire, which is passionate, energetic and adventurous. In Indian astrology, Mars is called Mangala and represents energy, confidence and ego.

Aries (meaning “ram”) is the first astrological sign in the zodiac, spanning the first 30 degrees of celestial longitude (0°≤ λ <30°). According to the tropical system of astrology, the Sun enters the sign of Aries when it reaches the northern vernal equinox, which occurs around March 21. Under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits Aries from April 15 to May 14.

Aries is ruled by Mars and has a similar description, representing an active, masculine archetype. Similarly, the first house is also ruled by Mars, and deals with a person’s physical health and strength, and the manner in which they project themselves.

Scorpio is the eighth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 210–240th degree of the zodiac, between 207.25 and 234.75 degree of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area on average between October 24 and November 22, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Scorpius from approximately November 16 to December 15.

The symbol of the scorpion is based on Scorpius, a giant scorpion sent by Gaia to kill Orion. The Babylonians called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, the signs can be literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’. In some old descriptions the constellation of Libra is treated as the Scorpion’s claws. Libra was known as the Claws of the Scorpion in Babylonian (zibānītu), and it is called zubānā in Arabic.

Pluto –  Scorpio

Pluto is the ruling planet of Scorpio and is possibly exalted in Leo. In Roman mythology, Pluto is the god of the underworld and of wealth. It is a northern sign and its opposite southern sign is Aquarius. Pluto is considered by modern astrologers to be the primary native ruler of the eighth house.

In Roman mythology, Pluto is the god of the underworld and of wealth. The alchemy symbol was given to Pluto on its discovery, three centuries after Alchemy practices had all but disappeared. The alchemy symbol can therefore be read as spirit over mind, transcending matter. The symbols were chosen given the close association with Mars which has a similar symbol.

Astrologically speaking, Pluto is called “the great renewer”, and is considered to represent the part of a person that destroys in order to renew, through bringing buried, but intense needs and drives to the surface, and expressing them, even at the expense of the existing order. A commonly used keyword for Pluto is “transformation”.

It is associated with power and personal mastery, and the need to cooperate and share with another, if each is not to be destroyed. Pluto governs big business and wealth, mining, surgery and detective work, and any enterprise that involves digging under the surface to bring the truth to light. Pluto is also associated with Tuesday, alongside Mars.

Mercury – Gemini and Virgo

Mercury is the ruling planet of Gemini and Virgo and is exalted in Virgo or Aquarius. In modern astrology, Mercury is regarded as the ruler of the third and sixth houses; traditionally, it had the joy in the first house. Mercury rules over Wednesday. In Romance languages, the word for Wednesday is often similar to Mercury (miercuri in Romanian, mercredi in French, miercoles in Spanish and mercoledì in Italian). Dante Alighieri associated Mercury with the liberal art of dialectic.

Astrologically speaking, Mercury represents the principles of communication, mentality, thinking patterns, rationality and reasoning, and adaptability and variability. In Roman mythology, Mercury is the messenger of the gods, noted for his speed and swiftness. In Chinese astrology, Mercury represents Water, the fourth element, therefore symbolizing communication, intelligence, and elegance.

Gemini is the third astrological sign in the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Gemini. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this sign between May 21 and June 21. Its name is Latin for “twins,” and it is associated with the twins Castor and Pollux in Greek mythology. The symbol of the twins is based on the Dioscuri, two mortals that were granted shared godhood after death.

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

According to Tacitus’s Germania (98 CE), Tuisto (or Tuisco) is the divine ancestor of the Germanic peoples. The Germania manuscript corpus contains two primary variant readings of the name. Root of the word is from the Hindu Vedic ‘Tvasthar’ – father of Manu. The names Mannus and Tuisto/Tuisco seem to have some relation to Proto-Germanic Mannaz, “man” and Tiwaz, “Tyr, the god”.

The most frequently occurring, Tuisto, is commonly connected to the Proto-Germanic root *tvai- “two” and its derivative *tvis- “twice” or “doubled”, thus giving Tuisto the core meaning “double”.

Virgo is the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac. Virgo is the second-largest constellation. It spans the 150-180th degree of the zodiac. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between August 22 and September 22, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits the constellation of Virgo from September 17 to October 17.

The symbol of the maiden is based on Astraea. In Greek mythology, she was the last immortal to abandon Earth at the end of the Silver Age, when the gods fled to Olympus – hence the sign’s association with Earth.

Ceres – Virgo

Ceres is the smallest identified dwarf planet in the Solar System, but is significantly the largest object in the asteroid belt. It was discovered on 1 January 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi, and is named after Ceres, the Roman goddess of growing plants, the harvest, and of motherly love. It was the first asteroid discovered, taking up about one-third of the entire mass of its asteroid belt.

The classification of Ceres has changed more than once and has been the subject of some disagreement. Johann Elert Bode believed Ceres to be the “missing planet” he had proposed to exist between Mars and Jupiter, at a distance of 419 million km (2.8 AU) from the Sun. Ceres was assigned a planetary symbol, and remained listed as a planet in astronomy books and tables for about half a century.

The 2006 debate surrounding Pluto and what constitutes a planet led to Ceres being considered for reclassification as a planet, but in the end Ceres and Pluto were classified as the first members of the new dwarf planet category.

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

In old opinion, Ceres is the ruling planet of Virgo. But, on new astrologers opinion, Ceres are ruling Taurus. In new opinion, Virgo is ruled by Chiron. 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.

Saturn – Capricorn and Aquarius

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

Saturn is associated with Saturday, which was named after the deity Saturn. Dante Alighieri associated Saturn with the liberal art of astronomia (astronomy and astrology). In Chinese astrology, Saturn is ruled by the element earth, which is warm, generous, and co-operative. In Indian astrology, Saturn is called Shani or “Sani”, representing a noteworthy career and longevity. He is also the bringer of obstacles and hardship.

Before the discovery of Uranus, Saturn was regarded as the ruling planet of Aquarius alongside Capricorn of course, which is the preceding sign. Uranus is also associated with Wednesday, alongside Mercury (since Uranus is in the higher octave of Mercury).

Many traditional types of astrologers prefer Saturn as the planetary ruler for both Capricorn and Aquarius. In modern astrology, it is the primary native ruler of the tenth house. Traditionally however, Saturn ruled both the first and eighth houses.

Astrologically speaking, Saturn is associated with focus, precision, nobility, ethics, civility, lofty goals, purpose, career, great achievements, dedication, authority figures, ordered hierarchy, stability, virtues, productiveness, valuable hard lessons learned, destiny, conforming social structures, balance, and karma (reaping what you have sowed or divine cosmic justice) but also with limitations, restrictions, boundaries, anxiety, tests, practicality, reality, and time.

Capricorn is the tenth astrological sign in the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Capricornus. In astrology, Capricorn is considered an earth sign, negative sign, and one of the four cardinal signs. It spans the 270–300th degree of the zodiac, corresponding to celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area from December 22 to January 19 each year, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits the constellation of Capricorn from approximately January 16 to February 16.

Aquarius is the eleventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation Aquarius. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun is in Aquarius typically between January 20 and February 18, while under the Sidereal Zodiac, the sun is in Aquarius from approximately February 15 to March 14, depending on leap year.

Uranus – Aquarius

Uranus is the ruling planet of Aquarius and is exalted in Scorpio. In art and literature, the discovery of Uranus coincided with the Romantic movement, which emphasized individuality and freedom of creative expression.

Additionally, it is often linked to an individual’s animal spirit. When it comes to medicine, Uranus is believed to be particularly associated with the sympathetic nervous system, mental disorders, breakdowns and hysteria, spasms, and cramps. Uranus is considered by modern astrologers to be the primary native ruler of the eleventh house.

Aries and Pisces 

Aries (meaning “ram”) is the first astrological sign in the zodiac, spanning the first 30 degrees of celestial longitude (0°≤ λ <30°). Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this sign mostly between March 21 and April 20 each year. Under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits Aries from April 15 to May 14 (approximately).

According to the tropical system of astrology, the Sun enters the sign of Aries when it reaches the northern vernal equinox, which occurs around March 21.

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

In the Northern Hemisphere, the meteorological beginning of spring occurs on the first day of March. The March equinox on the 20th or 21st marks the astronomical beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, where September is the seasonal equivalent of the Northern Hemisphere’s March.

The zodiac signs for the month of March are Pisces (until March 20) and Aries (March 21 onwards). Aries is located in the northern celestial hemisphere between Pisces, the twelfth and the astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the Pisces constellation, to the west and Taurus, the second astrological sign in the present zodiac, to the east.

Taurus (Latin for “the Bull”) spans the 30–60th degree of the zodiac. The Sun is in the sign of Taurus from about April 21 until about May 21 (Western astrology) or from about May 16 to June 16 (Sidereal astrology).

Pisces spans the 330° to 360° of the zodiac, between 332.75° and 360° of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac the sun transits this area on average between February 19 and March 20, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits this area between approximately March 13 and April 13.

Pisces is a constellation of the zodiac. Its name is the Latin plural for fish. It lies between Aquarius to the west and Aries to the east. The ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect within this constellation and in Virgo.

Pisces originates from some composition of the Babylonian constellations Šinunutu “the great swallow” in current western Pisces, and Anunitum the “Lady of the Heaven”, at the place of the northern fish. In the first-millennium BC texts known as the Astronomical Diaries, part of the constellation was also called DU.NU.NU (Rikis-nu.mi, “the fish cord or ribbon”).

Pisces is associated with Aphrodite and Eros, who escaped from the monster Typhon by leaping into the sea and transforming themselves into fish. In order not to lose each other, they tied themselves together with rope.

The Romans adopted the Greek legend, with Venus and Cupid acting as the counterparts for Aphrodite and Eros. The knot of the rope is marked by Alpha Piscium (α Psc), also called Al-Rischa (“the cord” in Arabic). Divine associations with Pisces include Poseidon/Neptune, Christ, Aphrodite, Eros, Typhon and Vishnu.

A planet’s domicile is the zodiac sign over which it has rulership, and the rulers of Pisces, or those associated with Pisceans, are Jupiter, Neptune, and the moon. In esoteric astrology, Venus was considered the ruler of Pisces, and prior to the discovery of Neptune in 1846, Jupiter was said to rule Pisces primarily.

Neptune is mostly considered the secondary ruling planet of Pisces today because of the association with the Roman god of water and the sea, Neptune. The detriment, or the sign “opposite” to that which is deemed the ruling planet, is Mercury. Venus is exalted in Pisces, while Mercury also falled into Pisces.

While the astrological sign Pisces per definition runs from elliptical longitude 330° to 0°, this position is now mostly covered by the constellation of Aquarius, due to the precession from when the constellation and the sign coincided. Today, the First Point of Aries, or the vernal equinox is in the Pisces constellation.

While the astrological sign Pisces per definition runs from ecliptical longitude 330° to 0, this position is now mostly covered by the constellation of Aquarius, due to the precession from when the constellation and the sign coincided.

The vernal equinox is currently located in Pisces, due south of ω Psc, and, due to precession, slowly drifting below the western fish towards Aquarius. According to some tropical astrologers, the current astrological age is the Age of Pisces, while others maintain that it is the Age of Aquarius, the eleventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation Aquarius.

Aquarius is a constellation of the zodiac, situated between Capricornus and Pisces. Its name is Latin for “water-carrier” or “cup-carrier”, and its symbol is a representation of water. It is found in a region often called the Sea due to its profusion of constellations with watery associations.

Aquarius is identified as GU.LA “The Great One”. Nintinugga was a Babylonian goddess of healing, the consort of Ninurta. She is identical with the goddess of Akkadian mythology, known as Bau or Baba, though it would seem that the two were originally independent. The name Bau is more common in the oldest period and gives way to Gula after the First Babylonian Dynasty.

In the Babylonian star catalogues and represents the god Ea himself, who is commonly depicted holding an overflowing vase. The Babylonian star-figure appears on entitlement stones and cylinder seals from the second millennium. It contained the winter solstice in the Early Bronze Age.

In Old Babylonian astronomy, Ea was the ruler of the southernmost quarter of the Sun’s path, the “Way of Ea”, corresponding to the period of 45 days on either side of winter solstice.

Aquarius was also associated with the destructive floods that the Babylonians regularly experienced, and thus was negatively connoted. In Ancient Egypt, Aquarius was associated with the annual flood of the Nile; the banks were said to flood when Aquarius put his jar into the river, beginning spring.

Venus is the ruling planet of Taurus and Libra and is exalted in Pisces. Jupiter is the ruling planet of Sagittarius and the ancient ruler of Pisces, and it is exalted in Cancer. Neptune is the modern ruling planet of Pisces and is possibly exalted in Cancer.

In Roman mythology, Jupiter is the ruler of the gods and their guardian and protector, and his symbol is the thunderbolt. Jupiter is associated with Thursday, and in Romance languages, the name for Thursday often comes from Jupiter (e.g., joi in Romanian, jeudi in French, jueves in Spanish, and giovedì in Italian).

In Roman mythology, Neptune is the god of the sea, and the deep, ocean blue color of the planet Neptune reflects this. Its glyph is taken directly from Neptune’s trident, symbolizing the curve of spirit being pierced by the cross of matter. In modern Greek the planet is called Poseidon, the Greek counterpart of Neptune.

In the Greek-influenced tradition, Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto; the brothers presided over the realms of Heaven, the earthly world, and the Underworld. Salacia was his consort. Neptune was likely associated with fresh water springs before the sea. Like Poseidon, Neptune was worshipped by the Romans also as a god of horses, under the name Neptunus Equester, a patron of horse-racing.

In the heavily sea-dependent Mycenaean culture, there is not sufficient evidence that Poseidon was connected with the sea. We do not know if “Posedeia” was a sea-goddess. Homer and Hesiod suggest that Poseidon became lord of the sea following the defeat of his father Kronos, when the world was divided by lot among his three sons; Zeus was given the sky, Hades the underworld, and Poseidon the sea, with the Earth and Mount Olympus belonging to all three.

Given Poseidon’s connection with horses as well as the sea, and the landlocked situation of the likely Indo-European homeland, Nobuo Komita has proposed that Poseidon was originally an aristocratic Indo-European horse-god who was then assimilated to Near Eastern aquatic deities when the basis of the Greek livelihood shifted from the land to the sea, or a god of fresh waters who was assigned a secondary role as god of the sea, where he overwhelmed the original Aegean sea deities such as Proteus and Nereus.

Conversely, Walter Burkert suggests that the Hellene cult worship of Poseidon as a horse god may be connected to the introduction of the horse and war-chariot from Anatolia to Greece around 1600 BC.

Division of the world

Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri

In Norse mythology, Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri (“Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western”) are four dwarves in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning who each support one of the four cardinal points. Together, they uphold the heavenly dome, created from the skull of the jötunn Ymir. They probably represent the four winds, corresponding to the four stags of the cosmic tree Yggdrasill.

Abzu, Kur and Ma

The underworld Kur is the void space between the primeval sea (Abzu) and the earth (Ma), which seem a likely pairing for parentage, in a fuzzy set of records. 

Ma is a Sumerian word meaning “land” that in Sumerian mythology was also used to regard Primordial Land. There seems to be some loss in records as to the transition, but the same name Ma appears again later, also tied to the Earth, in Ma being referred to as “Mother of the mountain” – in this case, Kur (Mountain) the first dragon god. Ma was a local goddess at Ma and a Phrygian alternative name for Cybele.

Kur is almost identical with “Ki-gal”, “Great Land” which is the Underworld (thus the ruler of the Underworld is Ereshkigal “Goddess of The Great Land”.

Abzu or Apsu, also called Engur (lit., ab=’water’ zu=’deep’), was the name for the primeval sea below the void space of the underworld (Kur) and the earth (Ma) above. It may also refer to fresh water from underground aquifers that was given a religious fertilizing quality. Lakes, springs, rivers, wells, and other sources of fresh water were thought to draw their water from the abzu.

In the city of Eridu, Enki’s temple was known as E-abzu (house of the cosmic waters) and was located at the edge of a swamp, an abzu. Certain tanks of holy water in Babylonian and Assyrian temple courtyards were also called abzu (apsû). Typical in religious washing, these tanks were similar to Judaism’s mikvot, the washing pools of Islamic mosques, or the baptismal font in Christian churches.

Equinox An (Nergal / Mars / Tyr) and (Tammuz / Dionysus / Balder)

Spring equinox and fall (or autumn) equinox:

Names based on the seasons. However, these can be ambiguous since the northern hemisphere’s spring is the southern hemisphere’s autumn, and vice versa. The Latinate names vernal equinox (spring) and autumnal equinox (fall) are often used to the same effect.

March equinox and September equinox:

Names referring to the months of the year they occur, with no ambiguity as to which hemisphere is the context. They are still not universal, however, as not all cultures use a solar-based calendar where the equinoxes occur every year in the same month (as they do not in the Islamic calendar and Hebrew calendar, for example).

Northward equinox and southward equinox:

Names referring to the apparent direction of motion of the Sun. The northward equinox occurs in March when the sun crosses the equator from south to north, and the southward equinox occurs in September when the sun crosses the equator from north to south. These terms can be used unambiguously for other planets.

First Point of Aries (Mars) and first point of Libra (Venus):

Names referring to the astrological signs the sun is entering. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, however, the constellations where the equinoxes are currently located are Pisces and Virgo, respectively.

The point where the Sun crosses the celestial equator southwards is called the first point of Libra. However, due to the precession of the equinoxes, this point is no longer in the constellation Libra, but rather in Virgo. The September equinox passed from Libra into Virgo in year −729, will pass into Leo in year 2439.

March equinox and September equinox

First Point of Aries and first point of Libra

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The two solstices can be distinguished by different pairs of names, depending on which feature one wants to stress:

Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice:

The most common names, referring to the seasons they are associated with. However, these can be ambiguous since the northern hemisphere’s summer is the southern hemisphere’s winter, and vice versa. The Latinate names estival solstice (summer) and hibernal solstice (winter) are sometimes used to the same effect, as are midsummer and midwinter.

June Solstice and December Solstice:

Refer to the months of year in which they take place, with no ambiguity as to which hemisphere is the context. They are still not universal, however, as not all cultures use a solar-based calendar where the solstices occur every year in the same month (as they do not in the Islamic calendar and Hebrew calendar, for example).

Northern Solstice and Southern Solstice:

Indicate the hemisphere of the Sun’s location. The northern solstice is in June, when the Sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the southern solstice is in December, when the Sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere. These terms can be used unambiguously for other planets.

First point of Cancer and first point of Capricorn:

Refer to the astrological signs that the sun is entering. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, however, the constellations where the solstices are currently located are Taurus and Sagittarius, respectively.

Summer solstice and winter solstice

First point of Cancer and first point of Capricorn

Anu (Ecliptic), Enlil (North) and Enki (South)

The doctrine once established remained an inherent part of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion and led to the more or less complete disassociation of the three gods constituting the triad from their original local limitations. In the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria, Anu, Enlil, and Ea became the three zones of the ecliptic, the northern, middle and southern zone respectively.

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

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

The summing-up of divine powers manifested in the universe in a threefold division represents an outcome of speculation in the schools attached to the temples of Babylonia, but the selection of Anu, Enlil (and later Marduk), and Enki for the three representatives of the three spheres recognized, is due to the importance which, for one reason or the other, the centres in which Anu, Enlil, and Enki were worshipped had acquired in the popular mind.

Each of the three must have been regarded in his centre as the most important member in a larger or smaller group, so that their union in a triad marks also the combination of the three distinctive pantheons into a harmonious whole.

The concept of the solstices was embedded in ancient Greek celestial navigation. As soon as they discovered that the Earth is spherical they devised the concept of the celestial sphere, an imaginary spherical surface rotating with the heavenly bodies (ouranioi) fixed in it (the modern one does not rotate, but the stars in it do). As long as no assumptions are made concerning the distances of those bodies from Earth or from each other, the sphere can be accepted as real and is in fact still in use.

The stars move across the inner surface of the celestial sphere along the circumferences of circles in parallel planes perpendicular to the Earth’s axis extended indefinitely into the heavens and intersecting the celestial sphere in a celestial pole. The Sun and the planets do not move in these parallel paths but along another circle, the ecliptic, whose plane is at an angle, the obliquity of the ecliptic, to the axis, bringing the Sun and planets across the paths of and in among the stars.*

Cleomedes states: The band of the Zodiac (zōdiakos kuklos, “zodiacal circle”) is at an oblique angle (loksos) because it is positioned between the tropical circles and equinoctial circle touching each of the tropical circles at one point … This Zodiac has a determinable width (set at 8° today) … that is why it is described by three circles: the central one is called “heliacal” (hēliakos, “of the sun”).

The term heliacal circle is used for the ecliptic, which is in the center of the zodiacal circle, conceived as a band including the noted constellations named on mythical themes. Other authors use Zodiac to mean ecliptic, which first appears in a gloss of unknown author in a passage of Cleomedes where he is explaining that the Moon is in the zodiacal circle as well and periodically crosses the path of the Sun. As some of these crossings represent eclipses of the Moon, the path of the Sun is given a synonym, the ekleiptikos (kuklos) from ekleipsis, “eclipse”.

Ecliptic

The ecliptic is the apparent path of the Sun on the celestial sphere, and is the basis for the ecliptic coordinate system. It also refers to the plane of this path, which is coplanar with the orbit of Earth around the Sun (and hence the apparent orbit of the Sun around Earth). The path of the Sun is not normally noticeable from Earth’s surface because Earth rotates, carrying the observer through the cycles of sunrise and sunset, obscuring the apparent motion of the Sun with respect to the stars.

The exact instants of equinoxes or solstices are the times when the apparent ecliptic longitude (including the effects of aberration and nutation) of the Sun is 0°, 90°, 180°, or 270°. Because of perturbations of Earth’s orbit and peculiarities of the calendar, the dates of these are not fixed.

The ecliptic forms the center of a band about 20° wide called the zodiac, on which the Sun, Moon, and planets are seen always to move. Traditionally, this region is divided into 12 signs of 30° longitude, each of which approximates the Sun’s motion through one month. In ancient times the signs corresponded roughly to 12 of the constellations that straddle the ecliptic. These signs give us some of the terminology used today. The first point of Aries was named when the vernal equinox was actually in the constellation Aries; it has since moved into Pisces.

The exact instants of equinoxes or solstices are the times when the apparent ecliptic longitude (including the effects of aberration and nutation) of the Sun is 0°, 90°, 180°, or 270°. Because of perturbations of Earth’s orbit and peculiarities of the calendar, the dates of these are not fixed.

The ecliptic forms the center of a band about 20° wide called the zodiac, on which the Sun, Moon, and planets are seen always to move. Traditionally, this region is divided into 12 signs of 30° longitude, each of which approximates the Sun’s motion through one month. In ancient times the signs corresponded roughly to 12 of the constellations that straddle the ecliptic. These signs give us some of the terminology used today. The first point of Aries was named when the vernal equinox was actually in the constellation Aries; it has since moved into Pisces.

Because Earth’s rotational axis is not perpendicular to its orbital plane, Earth’s equatorial plane is not coplanar with the ecliptic plane, but is inclined to it by an angle of about 23.4°, which is known as the obliquity of the ecliptic. If the equator is projected outward to the celestial sphere, forming the celestial equator, it crosses the ecliptic at two points known as the equinoxes.

The Sun, in its apparent motion along the ecliptic, crosses the celestial equator at these points, one from south to north, the other from north to south. The crossing from south to north is known as the vernal equinox, also known as the first point of Aries and the ascending node of the ecliptic on the celestial equator. The crossing from north to south is the autumnal equinox or descending node.

An (Aries / Libra)

An (in Akkadian Anu; Sumerian: An, from 𒀭An “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.

An 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 (not to be confused with the subterranean Abzu). 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 purely theoretical character of An is thus still further emphasized, and in the annals and votive inscriptions as well as in the incantations and hymns, he is rarely introduced as an active force to whom a personal appeal can be made. His name becomes little more than a synonym for the heavens in general and even his title as king or father of the gods has little of the personal element in it.

Inanna (Venus) Ereshkigal (Prosperina)

In Sumerian texts of the third millennium the goddess Urash 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.

A consort Antum is assigned to him, on the theory that every deity must have a female associate. But Anu spent so much time on the ground protecting the Sumerians he left her in Heaven and then met Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre, also known as “Queen of Heaven”.

An was also sometimes equated with Amurru, and, in Seleucid Uruk, with Enmešara / Nergal (Tyr-Mars) and Dumuzi/Tammuzi (Dionysus-Balder). Wife of Enmešara/Nergal was Ereshkigal (Hel), while the wife of Dumuzi/Tammuzi was Inanna (Venus-Frigg / Freyja). Ereshkigal is the sister and counterpart of Inanna/Ishtar, the symbol of nature during the non-productive season of the year.

Ereshkigal was also a queen that many gods and goddesses looked up to in the underworld. She is known chiefly through two myths, believed to symbolize the changing of the seasons, but perhaps also intended to illustrate certain doctrines which date back to the Mesopotamia period. According to the doctrine of two kingdoms, the dominions of the two sisters are sharply differentiated, as one is of this world and one of the world of the dead.

Caelus – Uranus – Varuna – Mitra

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.

Uranus (Ancient Greek Ouranos meaning “sky” or “heaven”) was the primal Greek god personifying the sky. His name in Roman mythology was Caelus. In Ancient Greek literature, Uranus or Father Sky was the son and husband of Gaia, Mother Earth. According to Hesiod’s Theogony, Uranus was conceived by Gaia alone, but other sources cite Aether as his father.

Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, and the ancestors of most of the Greek gods, but no cult addressed directly to Uranus survived into Classical times, and Uranus does not appear among the usual themes of Greek painted pottery. Elemental Earth, Sky and Styx might be joined, however, in a solemn invocation in Homeric epic.

Georges Dumézil’s equation of Ouranos’ name with that of the Vedic deity Váruṇa (Mitanni Aruna), god of the sky and waters, is etymologically untenable. Varuna is the Hindu god of water and the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law of the underwater world. A Makara is his mount. His consort is the Hindu goddess Varuni. Originally the chief god of the Vedic pantheon, Varuna was replaced by Indra and later faded away with the ascendancy of Shiva and Vishnu.

Varuna and Mitra are the gods of the societal affairs including the oath, and are often twinned Mitra-Varuna (a dvandva compound). Varuna is also twinned with Indra in the Rigveda, as Indra-Varuna (when both cooperate at New Year in re-establishing order).

Mitra and Varuna are two deities (devas) frequently referred to in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rigveda. They are both considered Ādityas, or deities connected with the Sun; and they are protectors of the righteous order of rta “Truth, Order”. Their connection is so close that they are frequently linked in the dvandva compound Mitra–Varuna.

Mitra (Sanskrit Mitrá) is a divinity of Indic culture, whose function changed with time. In the Mitanni inscription, Mitra is invoked as one of the protectors of treaties. In the late Vedic texts and the Brahmanas, Mitra is increasingly associated with the light of dawn and the morning sun (while Varuna becomes associated with the evening, and ultimately the night). In the post-Vedic texts – in which Mitra practically disappears – Mitra evolved into the patron divinity of friendship, and because he is “friend”, abhors all violence, even when sacred.

The Indo-Iranian common noun *mitra means “(that which) causes [-tra] to bind [mi-]”, hence Sanskrit mitram, “covenant, contract, oath”, the protection of which is Mitra’s role in both the Rigveda and in the Mitanni treaty. In post-Vedic India, the noun mitra came to be understood as “friend”, one of the aspects of bonding and alliance. Accordingly, in post-Vedic India, Mitra became the guardian of friendships. In most Indian languages, the word mitr means friend. The feminine form of the word in languages like Marathi is maitrin.

Theogony

The Theogony (i.e. “the genealogy or birth of the gods”) is a poem by Hesiod (8th – 7th century BC) describing the origins and genealogies of the Greek gods, composed c. 700 BC. It is written in the Epic dialect of Homeric Greek.

Kumarbi is the chief god of the Hurrians. He is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub. He was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil, and by the Ugaritians with El.

Kumarbi is known from a number of mythological Hittite texts, sometimes summarized under the term “Kumarbi Cycle”. The Song of Kumarbi or Kingship in Heaven is the title given to a Hittite version of the Hurrian Kumarbi myth, dating to the 14th or 13th century BC. It is preserved in three tablets, but only a small fraction of the text is legible.

The song relates that Alalu was overthrown by Anu who was in turn overthrown by Kumarbi. When Anu tried to escape, Kumarbi bit off his genitals and spat out three new gods. In the text Anu tells his son that he is now pregnant with the Teshub, Tigris, and Tašmišu. Upon hearing this Kumarbi spit the semen upon the ground and it became impregnated with two children. Kumarbi is cut open to deliver Tešub. Together, Anu and Teshub depose Kumarbi.

In another version of the Kingship in Heaven, the three gods, Alalu, Anu, and Kumarbi, rule heaven, each serving the one who precedes him in the nine-year reign. It is Kumarbi’s son Tešub, the Weather-God, who begins to conspire to overthrow his father.

From the first publication of the Kingship in Heaven tablets scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian creation myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus. In Sumerian mythology we have An, Enlil and Nergal / Tammuz.

Enlil (Saturn – Njord) – North

When Enlil (Saturn – Njord) rose to equal or surpass An in authority, the functions of the two deities came to some extent to overlap. Enlil (EN = Lord + LÍL = Wind, “Lord (of the) Storm”) is the god of breath, wind, loft and breadth (height and distance). Enlil was known as the inventor of the mattock (a key agricultural pick, hoe, ax or digging tool of the Sumerians) and helped plants to grow.

Enlil was also known as the god of weather. According to the Sumerians, Enlil requested the creation of a slave race, but then got tired of their noise and tried to kill them by sending a flood. A mortal known as Utnapishtim survived the flood through the help of another god, Enki, and he was made immortal by Enlil after Enlil’s initial fury had subsided.

As Enlil was the only god who could reach An, the god of heaven, he held sway over the other gods who were assigned tasks by his agent and would travel to Nippur to draw in his power. He is thus seen as the model for kingship.

Enlil was assimilated to the north “Pole of the Ecliptic”. His sacred number name was 50. At a very early period prior to 3000 BC, Nippur had become the centre of a political district of considerable extent. He was the head of an extensive pantheon. Among the titles accorded to him are “king of lands”, “king of heaven and earth”, and “father of the gods”.

Ninshubur / Enki (Mercury – Odin / Odr) – South

Ninshubur (Hermes/Mercury – Odin) was the sukkal or second-in-command of the goddess Inanna in Sumerian mythology. A goddess in her own right, her name can be translated as ‘Queen of the East’, and she was said to be a messenger and traveller for the other gods. As Inanna was associated with the planet Venus, Ninshubur was said to be associated with Mercury, as Venus and Mercury appear together in the sky.

Ninshubur accompanied Inanna as a vassal and friend throughout Inanna’s many exploits. She helped Inanna fight Enki’s demons after Inanna’s theft of the sacred me. Later, when Inanna became trapped in the Underworld, it was Ninshubur who pleaded with Enki for her mistress’s release. Though described as an unmarried virgin, in a few accounts Ninshubur is said to be one of Inanna’s lovers.

In later Akkadian mythology, Ninshubur was male. In “A hymn to Nergal” Ninshubur appeared as the minister of the underworld. Due to similarities between the two, some believe the later Hermes to have been based in part on Ninshubur

Enki is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians.

Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for “40,” occasionally referred to as his “sacred number.” The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times, identified with Enki.

His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the Zodiacal constellation Capricornus. He was accompanied by an attendant Isimud. He was also associated with the planet Mercury in the Sumerian astrological system.

He was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization. His image is a double-helix snake, or the Caduceus, sometimes confused with the Rod of Asclepius used to symbolize medicine. He is often shown with the horned crown of divinity dressed in the skin of a carp.

It has also been suggested that the original non-anthropomorphic divinity at Eridu was not Enki but Abzu. The emergence of Enki as the divine lover of Ninhursag, and the divine battle between the younger Igigi divinities and Abzu, saw the Abzu, the underground waters of the Aquifer, becoming the place in which the foundations of the temple were built.

The main temple to Enki is called E-abzu, meaning “abzu temple” (also E-en-gur-a, meaning “house of the subterranean waters”), a ziggurat temple surrounded by Euphratean marshlands near the ancient Persian Gulf coastline at Eridu.

Considered the master shaper of the world, god of wisdom and of all magic, Enki was characterized as the lord of the Abzu (Apsu in Akkadian), the freshwater sea or groundwater located within the earth.

In the later Babylonian epic Enûma Eliš, Abzu, the “begetter of the gods”, is inert and sleepy but finds his peace disturbed by the younger gods, so sets out to destroy them. His grandson Enki, chosen to represent the younger gods, puts a spell on Abzu “casting him into a deep sleep”, thereby confining him deep underground. Enki subsequently sets up his home “in the depths of the Abzu.” Enki thus takes on all of the functions of the Abzu, including his fertilising powers as lord of the waters and lord of semen.

Early royal inscriptions from the third millennium BCE mention “the reeds of Enki”. Reeds were an important local building material, used for baskets and containers, and collected outside the city walls, where the dead or sick were often carried. This links Enki to the Kur or underworld of Sumerian mythology.

In another even older tradition, Nammu, the goddess of the primeval creative matter and the mother-goddess portrayed as having “given birth to the great gods,” was the mother of Enki, and as the watery creative force, was said to preexist Ea-Enki.

Benito states “With Enki it is an interesting change of gender symbolism, the fertilising agent is also water, Sumerian “a” or “Ab” which also means “semen”. In one evocative passage in a Sumerian hymn, Enki stands at the empty riverbeds and fills them with his ‘water'”. This may be a reference to Enki’s hieros gamos or sacred marriage with Ki/Ninhursag (the Earth).

Isimud (Janus)

Isimud (also Isinu; Usmû; Usumu (Akkadian)) is a minor god, the messenger of the god Enki in Sumerian mythology. He is readily identifiable by his possessing two faces looking in opposite directions.

Capricorn

Capricorn is the tenth astrological sign in the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Capricornus. It spans the 270–300th degree of the zodiac, corresponding to celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area from December 22 to January 19 each year, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits the constellation of Capricorn from approximately January 16 to February 16.

In astrology, Capricorn is considered an earth sign, negative sign, and one of the four cardinal signs. Capricorn is said to be ruled by the planet Saturn. Its symbol is based on the Sumerians’ primordial god of wisdom and waters, Enki with the head and upper body of a mountain goat, and the lower body and tail of a fish. Later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology, Enki was the god of intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”), creation, crafts; magic; water, seawater and lakewater (a, aba, ab).

The mountain goat part of the symbol depicts ambition, resolute, intelligence, curiosity, but also steadiness, and ability to thrive in inhospitable environments while the fish represents passion, spirituality, intuition, and connection with the soul. Individuals born between December 21 to January 19 may be called Capricornian.

Cardinal Signs

In astrology, cardinal signs (also called by older astrologers a moveable sign) are associated with being active, self-motivated, ambitious and having dynamic qualities that initiate a change. They can be bossy, opinionated, inconsiderate and domineering.

The word “cardinal” originates from the Latin word for “hinge,” since they each mark the turning point of a temperate season. They were called moveable by traditional astrologers because, as Bonatti says, the “air” changes when the Sun enters each of these signs, bringing a change of season.

Sometimes the word cardinal is confused with the word angular. Angular signs are those signs which are located on the astrological angles of any given natal chart. Angular houses may be cardinal, fixed or mutable, depending on the birth time of the chart, but only Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn are cardinal signs. Their starts are related to equinoxes and solstices.

The four cardinal signs of the Zodiac are: Aries: the Sun’s passage through which begins the spring in the northern hemisphere, and autumn in the southern hemisphere. Cancer: which begins the summer in the northern hemisphere, and winter in the southern hemisphere. Libra: which begins the autumn in the northern hemisphere, and spring in the southern hemisphere. Capricorn: which begins the winter in the northern hemisphere, and summer in the southern hemisphere.

Solstice

A solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year (in June and December) as the Sun reaches its highest or lowest excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. The seasons of the year are directly connected to both the solstices and the equinoxes.

The term solstice can also be used in a broader sense, as the day when this occurs. The day of the solstice is either the longest day of the year (summer solstice) or the shortest day of the year (winter solstice) for any place outside of the tropics. Alternative terms, with no ambiguity as to which hemisphere is the context, are June solstice and December solstice, referring to the months of year in which they take place.

At latitudes in the temperate zone, the summer solstice marks the day when the sun appears highest in the sky. However, in the tropics, the sun appears directly overhead (called the subsolar point) some days (or even months) before the solstice and again after the solstice, which means the subsolar point occurs twice each year.

The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s path (as seen from Earth) comes to a stop before reversing direction.

The term solstice can also be used in a wider sense, as the date (day) that such a passage happens. The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In some languages they are considered to start or separate the seasons; in others they are considered to be centre points. At the midpoints between these four solar events, cross-quarter days are celebrated.

In the Northern Hemisphere the period around the northern solstice is known as midsummer, and Midsummer’s Day is 24 June, about three days after the solstice itself). Similarly 25 December is the start of the Christmas celebration, and is the day the Sun begins to return to the Northern Hemisphere.

Many cultures celebrate various combinations of the winter and summer solstices, the equinoxes, and the midpoints between them, leading to various holidays arising around these events. For the southern solstice, Christmas is the most popular holiday to have arisen.

In addition, Yalda, Saturnalia, Karachun, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Yule are also celebrated around this time. For the northern solstice, Christian cultures celebrate the feast of St. John from June 23 to 24, while Neopagans observe Midsummer, also known as Litha.

For the vernal (spring) equinox, several spring-time festivals are celebrated, such as the Persian Nowruz, the observance in Judaism of Passover and in most Christian churches of Easter. The autumnal equinox has also given rise to various holidays, such as the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

In many cultures, the solstices and equinoxes traditionally determine the midpoint of the seasons, which can be seen in the celebrations called midsummer and midwinter. The cumulative cooling and warming that result from the tilt of the planet become most pronounced after the solstices, leading to the more recent custom of using them to mark the beginning of summer and winter in most countries of Central and Northern Europe, as well as in Canada, the United States and New Zealand.

In the Hindu calendar, two sidereal solstices are named Makara Sankranti which marks the start of Uttarayana and Karka Sankranti which marks the start of Dakshinayana. The former occurs around January 14 each year, while the latter occurs around July 14 each year. These mark the movement of the Sun along a sidereally fixed zodiac (precession is ignored) into Makara, the zodiacal sign which corresponds with Capricorn, and into Karkat, the zodiacal sign which corresponds with Cancer, respectively.

The seasons occur because the Earth’s axis of rotation is not perpendicular to its orbital plane (the “plane of the ecliptic”) but currently makes an angle of about 23.44° (called the “obliquity of the ecliptic”), and because the axis keeps its orientation with respect to an inertial frame of reference.

As a consequence, for half the year the Northern Hemisphere is inclined toward the Sun while for the other half year the Southern Hemisphere has this distinction. The two moments when the inclination of Earth’s rotational axis has maximum effect are the solstices.

At the June solstice the subsolar point is further north than any other time: at latitude 23.44° north, known as the Tropic of Cancer. Similarly at the December solstice the subsolar point is further south than any other time: at latitude 23.44° south, known as the Tropic of Capricorn. The subsolar point will cross every latitude between these two extremes exactly twice per year.

Also during the June solstice, places on the Arctic Circle (latitude 66.56° north) will see the Sun just on the horizon during midnight, and all places north of it will see the Sun above horizon for 24 hours. That is the midnight sun or midsummer-night sun or polar day.

On the other hand, places on the Antarctic Circle (latitude 66.56° south) will see the Sun just on the horizon during midday, and all places south of it will not see the Sun above horizon at any time of the day. That is the polar night.

During the December Solstice, the effects on both hemispheres are just the opposite. This also allows the polar sea ice to increase its annual growth and temporary extent at a greater level due to lack of direct sunlight.

Using the current official IAU constellation boundaries – and taking into account the variable precession speed and the rotation of the ecliptic – the solstices shift through the constellations as follows (expressed in astronomical year numbering in which the year 0 = 1 BC, −1 = 2 BC, etc.):

The northern solstice passed from Leo into Cancer in year −1458, passed into Gemini in year −10, passed into Taurus in December 1989, and is expected to pass into Aries in year 4609. The southern solstice passed from Capricornus into Sagittarius in year −130, is expected to pass into Ophiuchus in year 2269, and is expected to pass into Scorpius in year 3597.

Ninhursag

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

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

As the wife and consort of Enki she was also referred to as Damgulanna (great wife of heaven) or Damkina (faithful wife). She had many epithets including shassuru or ‘womb goddess’, tabsut ili ‘midwife of the gods’, ‘mother of all children’ and ‘mother of the gods’. In this role she is identified with Ki in the Enuma Elish. She had shrines in both Eridu and Kish.

In the text ‘Creator of the Hoe’, she completed the birth of mankind after the heads had been uncovered by Enki’s hoe. In creation texts, Ninmah (another name for Ninhursag) acts as a midwife whilst the mother goddess Nammu makes different kinds of human individuals from lumps of clay at a feast given by Enki to celebrate the creation of humankind.

Sacred Marriage

As Ninmenna, according to a Babylonian investiture ritual, she placed the golden crown on the king in the Eanna temple. Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The House of Heaven (Sumerian: e-anna; Cuneiform: E.AN) temple[6] in Uruk.

According to Leick 1994 persons of asexual or hermaphroditic bodies and feminine men were particularly involved in the worship and ritual practices of Inanna’s temples. The deity of this fourth-millennium city was probably originally An. After its dedication to Inanna the temple seems to have housed priestesses of the goddess.

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

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

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

Tammuz

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

Tammuz (Akkadian: Duʾzu, Dūzu; Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”) is a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, also worshiped in the later Mesopotamian states of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia.

In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar.

The Levantine (“lord”) Adonis, who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, was considered by Joseph Campbell among others to be another counterpart of Tammuz, son and consort. The Aramaic name “Tammuz” seems to have been derived from the Akkadian form Tammuzi, based on early Sumerian Damu-zid.

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

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

Cancer

Cancer is said to have been the place for the Akkadian Sun of the South, perhaps from its position at the summer solstice in very remote antiquity. But afterwards it was associated with the fourth month Duzu (Tammuz) (June–July in the modern western calendar), and was known as the Northern Gate of Sun. Showing but few stars, and its brightest stars being of only 4th magnitude, Cancer was often considered the “Dark Sign”, quaintly described as black and without eyes.

Dante, alluding to this faintness and position of heavens, wrote in Paradiso: Cancer was the location of the Sun’s most northerly position in the sky (the summer solstice) in ancient times, though this position now occurs in Taurus due to the precession of the equinoxes, around June 21. This is also the time that the Sun is directly overhead at 23.5°N, a parallel now known as the Tropic of Cancer.

In Greek mythology, Cancer is identified with the crab that appeared while Hercules was fighting the many-headed Hydra. The crab bit Hercules on the foot, Hercules crushed it and then the goddess Hera, a sworn enemy of Hercules, placed the crab among the stars.

The modern symbol for Cancer represents the pincers of a crab, but Cancer has been represented as many types of creatures, usually those living in the water, and always those with an exoskeleton.

In the Egyptian records of about 2000 BC it was described as Scarabaeus (Scarab), the sacred emblem of immortality. In Babylonia the constellation was known as MUL.AL.LUL, a name which can refer to both a crab and a snapping turtle. On boundary stones, the image of a turtle or tortoise appears quite regularly and it is believed that this represents Cancer as a conventional crab has not so far been discovered on any of these monuments.

There also appears to be a strong connection between the Babylonian constellation and ideas of death and a passage to the underworld, which may be the origin of these ideas in later Greek myths associated with Hercules and the Hydra.

Tammuz or Tamuz, is the tenth month of the civil year and the fourth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a boreal summer month of 29 days, which occurs on the Gregorian calendar around June–July. The name of the month was adopted from the zodiac sign aptly named Tammuz (Hebrew), or in English, Cancer. It is also a month in the modern Assyrian calendar of the ethnic Assyrian Christians.

Enki and Ninhursag

In the legend of Enki and Ninhursag, Ninhursag bore a daughter to Enki called Ninsar (“Lady Greenery”). Through Enki, Ninsar bore a daughter Ninkurra. Ninkurra, in turn, bore Enki a daughter named Uttu.

Enki then pursued Uttu, who was upset because he didn’t care for her. Uttu, on her ancestress Ninhursag’s advice buried Enki’s seed in the earth, whereupon eight plants (the very first) sprung up.

Enki, seeing the plants, ate them, and became ill in eight organs of his body. Ninhursag cured him, taking the plants into her body and giving birth to eight deities: Abu, Nintulla (Nintul), Ninsutu, Ninkasi, Nanshe (Nazi), Azimua, Ninti, and Enshag (Enshagag).

Uttu is the goddess of weaving and clothing. She is both the child of Enkiand Ninkur, and she bears seven new child/trees from Enki, the eighth being the Ti (Tree of “Life”, associated with the “Rib”).

When Enki then ate Uttu’s children, Ninhursag cursed him with eight wounds and disappears. Uttu in Sumerian means “the woven” and she was illustrated as a spider in a web. She is a goddess in the pantheon.

Ninhursag relents and takes Enki’s Ab (water, or semen) into her body, and gives birth to gods of healing of each part of the body. Abu for the Jaw, Nintul for the Hip, Ninsutu for the tooth, Ninkasi for the mouth, Dazimua for the side, Enshagag for the Limbs. The last one, Ninti (Lady Rib), is also a pun on Lady Life, a title of Ninhursag herself.

The story thus symbolically reflects the way in which life is brought forth through the addition of water to the land, and once it grows, water is required to bring plants to fruit. It also counsels balance and responsibility, nothing to excess.

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.

Ninhursag / Ninlil (Eva / Lilith)

According to legend her name was changed from Ninmah to Ninhursag by her son Ninurta in order to commemorate his creation of the mountains. Hursag (transcribed cuneiform: ḫur.saḡ(HUR.SAG)) is a Sumerian term variously translated as meaning “mountain”, “hill”, “foothills” or “piedmont”.

Thorkild Jacobsen extrapolated the translation in his later career to mean literally, “head of the valleys”. Some scholars also identify hursag with an undefined mountain range or strip of raised land outside the plain of Mesopotamia.

In a myth variously entitled by Samuel Noah Kramer as “The Deeds and Exploits of Ninurta” and later Ninurta Myth Lugal-e by Thorkild Jacobsen, Hursag is described as a mound of stones constructed by Ninurta after his defeat of a demon called Asag. Ninurta’s mother Ninlil visits the location after this great victory. In return for her love and loyalty, Ninurta gives Ninlil the hursag as a gift. Her name is consequentially changed from Ninlil to Ninhursag or the “mistress of the Hursag”.

The hursag is described here in a clear cultural myth as a high wall, levee, dam or floodbank, used to restrain the excess mountain waters and floods caused by the melting snow and spring rain. The hursag is constructed with Ninurta’s skills in irrigation engineering and employed to improve the agriculture of the surrounding lands, farms and gardens where the water had previously been wasted.

In Sumerian religion, Ninlil (NIN.LÍL”lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, is the consort goddess of Enlil. Her parentage is variously described. Most commonly she is called the daughter of Haia (god of stores) and Nunbarsegunu (or Ninshebargunnu [a goddess of barley] or Nisaba). Another Akkadian source says she is the daughter of Anu (aka An) and Antu (Sumerian Ki). Other sources call her a daughter of Anu and Nammu.

She lived in Dilmun with her family. Impregnated by her husband Enlil, who lie with her by the water, she conceived a boy, Nanna/Suen, the future moon god. As punishment Enlil was dispatched to the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, where Ninlil joined him.

Enlil impregnated her disguised as the gatekeeper, where upon she gave birth to their son Nergal, god of death. In a similar manner she conceived the underworld god Ninazu when Enlil impregnated her disguised as the man of the river of the nether world, a man-devouring river. Later Enlil disguised himself as the man of the boat, impregnating her with a fourth deity Enbilulu, god of rivers and canals. All of these act as substitutes for Nanna/Suen to ascend. In some texts Ninlil is also the mother of Ninurta, the heroic god who slew Asag the demon with his mace, Sharur.

After her death, she became the goddess of the wind, like Enlil. She may be the Goddess of the South Wind referred to in the story of Adapa, as her husband Enlil was associated with northerly winter storms. 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 the sleeping quarters, in the flowered bed fragrant like a cedar forest, Enlil made love to his wife and took great pleasure in it. He sat her on his dais appropriate to the status of Enlil, and made the people pray to her.

The lord whose statements are powerful also determined a fate for the Lady (Aruru), the woman of his favour; he gave her the name Nintur, the ‘Lady who gives birth’, the ‘Lady who spreads her knees’. (…) Proud woman, surpassing the mountains! You who always fulfil your desires—from now on, Sud, Enlil is the king and Ninlil is the queen. The goddess without name has a famous name now, ……

Nammu / Tiamat

In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically NAMMA = ENGUR) was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat in Babylonian mythology.

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

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

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

Enraged, she, too, wars upon her husband’s murderers, taking on the form of a massive sea dragon, she is then slain by Enki’s son, the storm-god Marduk, but not before she had brought forth the monsters of the Mesopotamian pantheon, including the first dragons, whose bodies she filled with “poison instead of blood”. Marduk then forms heavens and the earth from her divided body.

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.

Nammu is the goddess who “has given birth to the great gods”. It is she who has the idea of creating mankind, and she goes to wake up Enki, who is asleep in the Apsu, so that he may set the process going.

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

An, Enlil and Enki

Odin

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.

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. It was said that she had been stolen away by Kur and taken to the underworld, where she was made queen unwillingly.

Ushas, Sanskrit for “dawn”, is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well. Sanskrit uṣas is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is uṣásas. It is from PIE *h₂ausos-, cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora.

In the “family books” of the Rig Veda (e.g. RV 6.64.5), Ushas is the divine daughter—a divó duhitâ —of Dyaus Pita (“Sky Father”). This is taken literally in the traditional genealogies of Hindu mythology.

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 (“enclosure”) at the beginning of time. Historically, it has the same origin as the Vrtra story, being derived from the same root, and from the same root also as Varuna, *val-/var- (PIE *wel-) “to cover, to enclose” (perhaps cognate to veil).

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.

The word pani is also applied in the Rig Veda to human beings, even respected members of the community, who are unwilling to share their wealth. In one hymn Indra himself is addressed as “pani”.

Already in 2.24, the story is given a mystical interpretation, with warlike Indra replaced by Brahmanaspati, the lord of prayer, who split Vala with prayer (brahman) rather than with the thunderbolt.

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.”

According to prominent folklorist Yeleazar Meletinsky, Hermes is a deified trickster. and master of thieves (“a plunderer, a cattle-raider, a night-watching” in Homers’ Hymns) and deception (Euripides) and (possibly evil) tricks and trickeries, crafty (from lit. god of craft), the cheat, the god of stealth.

In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a Trickster is a character in a story (god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphisation), which exhibits a great degree of intellect or secret knowledge, and uses it to play tricks or otherwise disobey normal rules and conventional behaviour. It is suggested by G.P. Hansen that the term “Trickster” was probably first used in this context by Daniel G. Brinton in 1885.

All cultures have tales of the Trickster, a crafty creature who uses cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or simply cause mischief. In some Greek myths Hermes plays the Trickster. He is the patron of thieves and the inventor of lying, a gift he passed on to Autolycus, who in turn passed it on to Odysseus. In Slavic folktales, the trickster and the culture hero are often combined.

Frequently the Trickster figure exhibits gender and form variability. In Norse mythology the mischief-maker is Loki, who is also a shape shifter. Loki also exhibits gender variability, in one case even becoming pregnant. He becomes a mare who later gives birth to Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir.

Hermes was known to be a cunning trickster, stealing things from the other gods and hiding them in unbelievable locations. Hermes once went out his cradle and started an adventure to Pieria, in Northern Greece. His aim was to steal the cattle from his half-brother Apollo.

Apollo discovered the herd very soon. One by one, he started pulling the hoofs out of the cows’ feet and re-attaching them in the reverse order. The same he did to his own sandals. Then he took the herd, which now seemed to be walking backwards and hid the herd inside a cave.

Apollo soon found out that his herd was missing and started searching all around. The traces he saw on his way were nothing but confusing and led the god to despair. Since Apollo was the god of prophecy he soon found out the thief and went furiously to Mount Cyllene to find Hermes in his cave. Little Hermes was peacefully sleeping inside his cradle, but Apollo grabbed the infant and took him up to Mount Olympus to be judged by their master Zeus, the king of the gods.

Before the eyes of Zeus, Hermes first denied everything, but in the end he had to confess. Zeus found the story quite amusing so he didn’t punish Hermes, he only asked from him to return the herd. Regretful of what he had done, Hermes then offered Apollo his lyre as a present. The lyre was a musical instrument Hermes had created all by himself out of the shell of a tortoise.

To compensate Hermes for his kindness, Apollo returned the gesture by giving Hermes a golden rod to guide the herds. From that moment on, there was peace again in Mount Olympus and a strong friendship began between Hermes and Apollo.

The offspring of Hermes are believed to be Pan, Abderus and Hermaphroditus. Hermes as with the other gods had numerous affairs with goddesses, nymphs and mortals. In some legends even sheep and goats. Pan, the half man half goat, is believed to be the son of Hermes and Dryope, the daughter of king Dryops. Pan terrified his mother when he was born, so much so that she fled in horror at the sight of her new born son.

When they described the gods of Celtic and Germanic tribes, rather than considering them separate deities, the Romans interpreted them as local manifestations or aspects of their own gods, a cultural trait called the interpretatio Romana. Mercury in particular was reported as becoming extremely popular among the nations the Roman Empire conquered.

Julius Caesar wrote of Mercury being the most popular god in Britain and Gaul, regarded as the inventor of all the arts. This is probably because in the Roman syncretism, Mercury was equated with the Celtic god Lugus, and in this aspect was commonly accompanied by the Celtic goddess Rosmerta.

Although Lugus may originally have been a deity of light or the sun (though this is disputed), similar to the Roman Apollo, his importance as a god of trade made him more comparable to Mercury, and Apollo was instead equated with the Celtic deity Belenus.

Romans associated Mercury with the Germanic god Wotan, by interpretatio Romana; 1st-century Roman writer Tacitus identifies him as the chief god of the Germanic peoples.

In Germanic mythology, Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn) is a widely revered god. In Norse mythology, from which stems most of the information about the god, Odin is associated with healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg.

In wider Germanic mythology and paganism, Odin was known in Old English as Wōden, in Old Saxon as Wōdan, and in Old High German as Wuotan or Wōtan, all stemming from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym wōđanaz.

Odin has been a frequent subject of study in Germanic studies, and numerous theories have been developed regarding his characterization. Some of these focus on Odin’s particular relation to other figures; for example, the fact that Freyja’s husband Óðr appears to be something of an etymological doublet of the god, whereas Odin’s wife Frigg is in many ways similar to Freyja, and that Odin has a particular relation to the figure of Loki.

Enki is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians.

He was the deity of crafts (gašam); mischief; water, seawater, lakewater (a, aba, ab), intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”) and creation (Nudimmud: nu, likeness, dim mud, make beer). He was associated with the southern band of constellations called stars of Ea, but also with the constellation AŠ-IKU, the Field (Square of Pegasus).

Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for “40,” occasionally referred to as his “sacred number.” The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times, identified with Enki.

The main temple to Enki is called E-abzu, meaning “abzu temple” (also E-en-gur-a, meaning “house of the subterranean waters”), a ziggurat temple surrounded by Euphratean marshlands near the ancient Persian Gulf coastline at Eridu. He was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization. His image is a double-helix snake, or the Caduceus, sometimes confused with the Rod of Asclepius used to symbolize medicine. He is often shown with the horned crown of divinity dressed in the skin of a carp.

His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the Zodiacal constellation Capricornus. He was accompanied by an attendant Isimud. He was also associated with the planet Mercury in the Sumerian astrological system.

Skaði

In Norse mythology, Skaði (sometimes anglicized as Skadi, Skade, or Skathi) is a jötunn and goddess associated with bowhunting, skiing, winter, and mountains.

Skaði is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda and in Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and in the works of skalds.

In all sources, Skaði is the daughter of the deceased Þjazi, and Skaði married the god Njörðr as part of the compensation provided by the gods for killing her father Þjazi. In Heimskringla, Skaði is described as having split up with Njörðr and as later having married the god Odin, and that the two produced many children together.

Scandinavia

The etymology of the name Skaði is uncertain, but may be connected with the original form of Scandinavia. Some place names in Scandinavia, particularly in Sweden, refer to Skaði.

Scholars have theorized a potential connection between Skaði and the god Ullr (who is also associated with skiing and appears most frequently in place names in Sweden), a particular relationship with the jötunn Loki, and that Scandinavia may be related to the name Skaði (potentially meaning “Skaði’s island”) or the name may be connected to an Old Norse noun meaning “harm”. Skaði has inspired various works of art.

The Old Norse name Skaði, along with Sca(n)dinavia and Skáney, may be related to Gothic skadus, Old English sceadu, Old Saxon scado, and Old High German scato (meaning “shadow”). Scholar John McKinnell comments that this etymology suggests Skaði may have once been a personification of the geographical region of Scandinavia or associated with the underworld.

Georges Dumézil disagrees with the notion of Scadin-avia as etymologically “the island of the goddess Skaði.” Dumézil comments that the first element Scadin must have had—or once had—a connection to “darkness” “or something else we cannot be sure of”. Dumézil says that, rather, the name Skaði derives from the name of the geographical region, which was at the time no longer completely understood.

In connection, Dumézil points to a parallel in Ériu, a goddess personifying Ireland that appears in some Irish texts, whose name he says comes from Ireland rather than the other way around. Alternatively, Skaði may be connected with the Old Norse noun skaði (“harm”), source of the Icelandic and Faroese skaði (“harm, damage”) and cognate with obsolete English scathe, which survives in unscathed and scathing.

Scandinavia and Scania (Skåne, the southernmost province of Sweden) are considered to have the same etymology. Both terms are thought to go back to the Proto-Germanic compound *Skaðin-awjō, which appears later in Old English as Scedenig and in Old Norse as Skáney. The earliest identified source for the name Scandinavia is Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, dated to the first century A.D.

Various references to the region can also be found in Pytheas, Pomponius Mela, Tacitus, Ptolemy, Procopius and Jordanes, usually in the form of Scandza. It is believed that the name used by Pliny may be of West Germanic origin, originally denoting Scania.

According to some scholars, the Germanic stem can be reconstructed as *Skaðan- meaning “danger” or “damage” (English scathing, German Schaden, Dutch schade). The second segment of the name has been reconstructed as *awjō, meaning “land on the water” or “island”. The name Scandinavia would then mean “dangerous island”, which is considered to refer to the treacherous sandbanks surrounding Scania. Skanör in Scania, with its long Falsterbo reef, has the same stem (skan) combined with -ör, which means “sandbanks”.

In the reconstructed Germanic root *Skaðin-awjō (the edh represented in Latin by t or d), the first segment is sometimes considered more uncertain than the second segment. The American Heritage Dictionary derives the second segment from Proto-Indo-European *akwa-, “water”, in the sense of “watery land”.

The Old Norse goddess name Skaði, along with Sca(n)dinavia and Skáney, may be related to Gothic skadus, Old English sceadu, Old Saxon scado, and Old High German scato (meaning “shadow”). Scholar John McKinnell comments that this etymology suggests that the goddess Skaði may have once been a personification of the geographical region of Scandinavia or associated with the underworld.

Njörðr

In Norse mythology, Njörðr is a god among the Vanir. Njörðr, father of the deities Freyr and Freyja by his unnamed 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.

In Saami mythology, Bieka-Galles (or Biega-, Biegga-Galles, depending on dialect; “The Old Man of the Winds”) is a deity who rules over rain and wind, and is the subject of boat and wooden shovel (or, rather, oar) offerings.

Due to similarities in between descriptions of Njörðr in Gylfaginning and descriptions of Bieka-Galles in 18th century missionary reports, Axel Olrik identified this deity as the result of influence from the seafaring North Germanic peoples on the landbound Saami.

Njörðr-Nerthus

Njörðr has been the subject of an amount of scholarly discourse and theory, often connecting him with the figure of the much earlier attested Germanic goddess Nerthus.

The name Njörðr corresponds to that of the older Germanic fertility goddess Nerthus, and both derive from the Proto-Germanic *Nerþuz, a direct precursor to the Old Norse deity name Njörðr.

While scholars have noted numerous parallels between the descriptions of the two figures, Njörðr is attested as a male deity. It has been suggested that the change of sex from the female Nerhus to the male Njörðr is due to the fact that feminine nouns with u-stems disappeared early in Germanic language while the masculine nouns with u-stems prevailed.

However, other scholars hold the change to be based not on grammatical gender but on the evolution of religious beliefs; that *Nerþuz and Njörðr appear as different genders because they are to be considered separate beings.

Nerthus

In Germanic paganism, Nerthus is a goddess associated with fertility. Nerthus is attested by Tacitus, the first century AD Roman historian, in his ethnographic work Germania. The original meaning of the name is contested, but it may be related to the Irish word nert which means “force” and “power”.

Nerthus typically is identified as a Vanir goddess. Her wagon tour has been likened to several archeological wagon finds and legends of deities parading in wagons.

In Germania, Tacitus records that the remote Suebi tribes were united by their veneration of the goddess at his time of writing and maintained a sacred grove on an (unspecified) island and that a holy cart rests there draped with cloth, which only a priest may touch. The priests feel her presence by the cart, and, with deep reverence, attend her cart, which is drawn by heifers.

Everywhere the goddess then deigns to visit, she is met with celebration, hospitality, and peace. All iron objects are locked away, and no one will leave for war. When the goddess has had her fill she is returned to her temple by the priests. Tacitus adds that the goddess, the cart, and the cloth are then washed by slaves in a secluded lake. The slaves are then drowned.

Various scholarly theories exist regarding the goddess and her potential later traces amongst the Germanic peoples, including that the figure may be identical to the unnamed sister-wife of Njörðr mentioned in two Old Norse sources.

While developments in historical linguistics ultimately allowed for the identification of Nerthus with Njörðr, various other readings of the name were in currency prior to the acceptance of this identification, most commonly the form Hertha. This form was proposed as an attempt to mirror the Old Norse goddess name Jörð ‘earth’.

Njörun

The name Njörðr may also be related to the name of the Norse goddess Njörun. In Norse mythology, Njörun (Old Norse Njǫrun, sometimes modernly anglicized as Niorun) is a goddess attested in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and various kennings (including once in the Poetic Edda).

Scholarly theories concerning her name and function in the pantheon include etymological connections to the Norse god Njörðr and the Roman goddess Nerio, and suggestions that she may represent the earth and/or be the unnamed sister-wife of Njörðr.

Several scholars have suggested that the stem syllable in her name, Njǫr-, may represent the element *ner- as in Tacitus’ earth-goddess Nerthus (*Ner-þuz), whose name is etymologically identical with that of the Norse god Njǫrðr, and that Njörun may therefore be a name for the earth.

Saturn – Ops/Lua

In Old Icelandic translations of Classical mythology, the Roman god Saturn’s name is glossed as “Njörðr.” Saturn was the first god of the Capitol, known since the most ancient times as Saturnius Mons, and was seen as a god of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal and liberation. In later developments he came to be also a god of time.

His reign was depicted as a Golden Age of plenty and peace. Under Saturn’s rule, humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labour in the “Golden Age” described by Hesiod and Ovid.

The Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum housed the state treasury. The Roman soil preserved the remembrance of a very remote time during which Saturn and Janus reigned on the site of the city before its foundation: the Capitol was named mons Saturnius.

It was customary for the Romans to represent divine figures as kings of Latium at the time of their legendary origins. Macrobius states explicitly that the Roman legend of Janus and Saturn is an affabulation, as the true meaning of religious beliefs cannot be openly expressed.

In the myth Saturn was the original and autochthonous ruler of the Capitolium, which had thus been called the Mons Saturnius in older times and on which once stood the town of Saturnia. He was sometimes regarded as the first king of Latium or even the whole of Italy.

At the same time, there was a tradition that Saturn had been an immigrant god, received by Janus after he was usurped by his son Jupiter and expelled from Greece.[44] In Versnel’s view his contradictions—a foreigner with one of Rome’s oldest sanctuaries, and a god of liberation who is kept in fetters most of the year—indicate Saturn’s capacity for obliterating social distinctions.

The Golden Age of Saturn’s reign in Roman mythology differed from the Greek tradition. He arrived in Italy “dethroned and fugitive,” but brought agriculture and civilization for which things was rewarded by Janus with a share of the kingdom, becoming he himself king.

As the Augustan poet Vergil described it, “He gathered together the unruly race” of fauns and nymphs “scattered over mountain heights, and gave them laws … . Under his reign were the golden ages men tell of: in such perfect peace he ruled the nations.”

He was considered the ancestor of the Latin nation as he fathered Picus, the first king of Latium, who married Janus’ daughter Canens and in his turn fathered Faunus.

Saturn was also said to have founded the five Saturnian towns of Latium: Aletrium (today Alatri), Anagnia (Anagni), Arpinum (Arpino), Atina and Ferentinum (Ferentino, also known as Antinum) all located in present-day Ciociaria, province of Frosinone. All these towns are surrounded by cyclopical walls; their foundation is traditionally ascribed to the Pelasgians.

In December, he was celebrated at what is perhaps the most famous of the Roman festivals, the Saturnalia, a time of feasting, role reversals, free speech, gift-giving and revelry. Saturn the planet and Saturday are both named after the god.

Saturn is the ruling planet of Capricorn and Aquarius and is exalted in Libra. In Roman mythology, Saturn is the god of agriculture, leader of the titans, founder of civilizations, social order, and conformity.

The glyph is shaped like a scythe, but it is known as the “crescent below the cross”, whereas Jupiter’s glyph is the “crescent above the cross”. The famous rings of the planet Saturn that enclose and surround it, reflect the idea of human limitations.

Saturn had two consorts who represented different aspects of the god. The name of his wife Ops, the Roman equivalent of Greek Rhea, means “wealth, abundance, resources.”

Earlier was Saturn’s association with Lua (“destruction, dissolution, loosening”), a goddess who received the bloodied weapons of enemies destroyed in war. H.S. Versnel, however, proposed that Lua Saturni should not be identified with Lua Mater, but rather refers to “loosening”; she thus represents the liberating function of Saturn.

Opis, when syncretized with Greek mythology, was not only the wife of Saturn, she was his sister and the daughter of Caelus. Her children were Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, Ceres, and Vesta. Opis also acquired queenly status and was reputed to be an eminent goddess. By public decree temples, priests, and sacrifices were accorded her.

The association with Ops though is considered a later development, as this goddess was originally paired with Consus, the god who was the protector of grains and represented by a grain seed.

In Roman mythology, and in Greek mythology where Ops is identified as Rhea, her husband was Cronus, the bountiful monarch of the Golden Age. Cronus was Rhea’s husband and brother. According to Festus (203:19), “Ops is said to be the wife of Saturn and the daughter of Caelus.

Consus

The altar (ara) of Consus was located at the first meta of the Circus Maximus. It was either underground, or according to other sources, covered with earth, which was swept off during the two Consualia, his festivals on August 21 and December 15 and on July 7 when the pontiffs held a sacrifice there. He was thus a chthonic god. The Flamen Quirinalis and the Vestals officiated at his rites.

The festivals of Ops (Opiconsivia or Opalia) followed his closely, being held every August 25 and December 19, at the time of reaping and the seeding of crops. In Ops’ statues and coins, she is figured sitting down, as Chthonian deities normally are, and generally holds a scepter or a corn spike as her main attributes.

By her they designated the earth, because the earth distributes all goods to the human genus”. The Latin word ops mean “riches, goods, abundance, gifts, munificence, plenty”. The word is also related to opus, which means “work”, particularly in the sense of “working the earth, ploughing, sowing”. This activity was deemed sacred, and was often attended by religious rituals intended to obtain the good will of chthonic deities such as Ops and Consus. Ops is also related to the Sanskrit word ápnas (“goods, property”).

According to Roman tradition, the cult of Opis was instituted by Titus Tatius, one of the Sabine kings of Rome. Opis soon became the patroness of riches, abundance, and prosperity. Opis had a famous temple in the Capitolium.

Originally, a festival took place in Opis’ honor on August 10. Additionally, on December 19 (some say December 9), the Opalia was celebrated. On August 25, the Opiconsivia was held. Opiconsivia was another name used for Opis, indicating when the earth was sown. These festivals also included activities that were called Consualia, in honor of Consus, her consort.

Consus became a god associated with secret conferences, as his name was also interpreted allegorically in relation to consilium (“council, assembly”). This power of hidden counselling held by Consus seems to be related to the concept expressed by Dionysius and Plutarch that he is the “holder” of the Earth, an idea that makes of him a parallel to Poseidon.

So although it is certain that condere and consulere are from two different roots, it looks the character of Consus as hidden master of the Earth was at the basis of the identification with Poseidon, as well as the strict affinity of the two gods with the horse. Consus is perhaps to be identified with “Equestrian Neptune” (Neptunus Equestris). Mule or horse races were the main event of the festival.

Mars

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army.

Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming. Mars is the ruling planet of Aries and Scorpio and is exalted in Capricorn.

Mars was a part of the Archaic Triad along with Jupiter and Quirinus, the latter of whom as a guardian of the Roman people had no Greek equivalent.

Mars’ altar in the Campus Martius, the area of Rome that took its name from him, was supposed to have been dedicated by Numa, the peace-loving semi-legendary second king of Rome.

Although the center of Mars’ worship was originally located outside the sacred boundary of Rome (pomerium), Augustus made the god a renewed focus of Roman religion by establishing the Temple of Mars Ultor in his new forum.

 

Like Ares who was the son of Zeus and Hera, Mars is usually considered to be the son of Jupiter and Juno. However, in a version of his birth given by Ovid, he was the son of Juno alone. Jupiter had usurped the mother’s function when he gave birth to Minerva directly from his forehead (or mind).

To restore the balance, Juno sought the advice of the goddess Flora on how to do the same. Flora obtained a magic flower (Latin flos, plural flores, a masculine word) and tested it on a heifer who became fecund at once. She then plucked a flower ritually using her thumb, touched Juno’s belly, and impregnated her. Juno withdrew to Thrace and the shore of Marmara for the birth.

Ovid tells this story in the Fasti, his long-form poetic work on the Roman calendar. It may explain why the Matronalia, a festival celebrated by married women in honor of Juno as a goddess of childbirth, occurred on the first day of Mars’ month, which is also marked on a calendar from late antiquity as the birthday of Mars.

Creation of humans

Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people. In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia.

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

*Mannaz is the conventional name of the m-rune ᛗ of the Elder Futhark. It is derived from the reconstructed Common Germanic word for “man”, *mannaz. Younger Futhark ᛘ is maðr (“man”). It took up the shape of the algiz rune ᛉ, replacing Elder Futhark ᛗ. As its sound value and form in the Elder Futhark indicate, it is derived from the letter M (𐌌) in the Old Italic alphabets, ultimately from the Greek letter Mu (μ).

Mannus, according to the Roman writer Tacitus, was a figure in the creation myths of the Germanic tribes. Tacitus wrote that Mannus was the son of Tuisto and the progenitor of the three Germanic tribes Ingaevones, Herminones and Istvaeones. The names Mannus and Tuisto/Tuisco seem to have some relation to Proto-Germanic Mannaz, “man” and Tiwaz, “Tyr, the god”.

Yama or Yamarāja, also called Imra, is a god of death, the south direction and the underworld, belonging to an early stratum of Rigvedic Hindu deities. In Sanskrit, his name can be interpreted to mean “twin”. In the Zend-Avesta of Zoroastrianism, he is called “Yima”.

According to the Vishnu Purana, his parents are the sun-god Surya and Sanjna, the daughter of Vishvakarman. Yama is the brother of Sraddhadeva Manu and of his older sister Yami, which Horace Hayman Wilson indicates to mean the Yamuna. According to Harivamsa Purana her name is Daya. There is a temple in Srivanchiyam, Tamil Nadu dedicated to Yama.

In the Vedas, Yama is said to have been the first mortal who died. By virtue of precedence, he became the ruler of the departed, and is called “Lord of the Pitrs” (Sanskrit: the fathers), the spirits of the departed ancestors in Hindu culture. They are often remembered annually.

The Pitṛs are most primeval deities and they never cease to exist. The manuṣyāḥ pitaraḥ (ancestors of human beings) can attain the same level of the divine Pitṛs and live with them in heaven by righteousness. They are reborn at the end of every thousand mahayugas and revive the worlds. From them all the Manus and all progeny at the new creation are produced.

Manu is a term found with various meanings in different mythologies of Hinduism. In early texts, it refers to the archetypal man, or to the first man (progenitor of humanity).The Sanskrit term for ‘human’, mānava, means ‘of Manu’ or ‘children of Manu’.

In later texts, Manu is the title or name of mystical sage-rulers of earth, or alternatively as the head of mythical dynasties that begin with each cyclic kalpa (aeon) when the universe is born anew. The title of the text Manusmriti uses this term as a prefix, but refers to the first Manu – Svayambhuva, the spiritual son of Brahma.

In some Puranic mythology, each kalpa consists of fourteen Manvantaras, and each Manvantara is headed by a different Manu. The current universe, in this mythology, is asserted to be ruled by the 7th Manu named Vaivasvata.

In Vishnu Purana, Vaivasvata, also known as Sraddhadeva or Satyavrata, was the king of Dravida before the great flood. He was warned of the flood by the Matsya (fish) avatar of Vishnu, and built a boat that carried the Vedas, Manu’s family and the seven sages to safety, helped by Matsya. The myth is repeated with variations in other texts, including the Mahabharata and a few other Puranas. It is similar to other flood myths such as that of Gilgamesh and Noah.

The Saptarishi (from saptarṣi, a Sanskrit dvigu meaning “seven sages”) are the seven rishis who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. The Vedic Samhitas never enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas and Upanisads do so. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic religion.

The Apkallu (Akkadian), or Abgal (Sumerian), are seven Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian) sages, demigods who are said to have been created by the god Enki (Akkadian: Ea) to establish culture and give civilization to mankind.

They were noted for having been saved during the flood. They served as priests of Enki and as advisors or sages to the earliest kings of Sumer before the flood. They are credited with giving mankind the Me (moral code), the crafts, and the arts. They were seen as fish-like men who emerged from the sweet water Abzu. They are commonly represented as having the lower torso of a fish, or dressed as a fish.

According to the myth, human beings were initially unaware of the benefits of culture and civilization. The god Enki sent from Dilmun, amphibious half-fish, half-human creatures, who emerged from the oceans to live with the early human beings and teach them the arts and other aspects of civilization such as writing, law, temple and city building and agriculture. These creatures are known as the Apkallu. The Apkallu remained with human beings after teaching them the ways of civilization, and served as advisors to the kings.

In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, is an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky. The celestial entity has several meanings in different cultures and traditions.

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 is a large and prominent constellation in the northern hemisphere’s winter sky. It is one of the oldest constellations, dating back to at least the Early Bronze Age when it marked the location of the Sun during the spring equinox. Its importance to the agricultural calendar influenced various bull figures in the mythologies of Ancient Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

A number of features exist that are of interest to astronomers. Taurus hosts two of the nearest open clusters to Earth, the Pleiades and the Hyades, both of which are visible to the naked eye. The brightest member of this constellation is Aldebaran, an orange-hued, spectral class K5 III giant star. Its 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.

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 Hinduism, the Marutas, also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Prisni and attendants of Indra. The number of Marutas varies from 27 to sixty (three times sixty in RV 8.96.8). They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e. lightning and thunderbolts, as having iron teeth and roaring like lions, as residing in the north, as riding in golden chariots drawn by ruddy horses.

Hymn 66 of Mandala VI of the Rig Veda is an eloquent account of how a natural phenomenon of a rain-storm metamorphose into storm deities. In the Vedic mythology, the Marutas, a troop of young warriors, are Indra’s companions. According to French comparative mythologist Georges Dumézil, they are cognate to the Einherjar and the Wild hunt.

According to the Rig Veda, the ancient collection of sacred hymns, they wore golden helmets and breastplates, and used their axes to split the clouds so that rain could fall. They were widely regarded as clouds, capable to shaking mountains and destroying forests.

According to later tradition, such as Puranas, the Marutas were born from the broken womb of the goddess Diti, after Indra hurled a thunderbolt at her to prevent her from giving birth to too powerful a son. The goddess had intended to remain pregnant for a century before giving birth to a son who would threaten Indra.

Maryannu is an ancient word for the caste of chariot-mounted hereditary warrior nobility which existed in many of the societies of the Middle East during the Bronze Age.

The term is attested in the Amarna letters written by Haapi. Robert Drews writes that the name ‘maryannu’ although plural takes the singular ‘marya’, which in Sanskrit means young warrior, and attaches a Hurrian suffix. He suggests that at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age most would have spoken either Hurrian or Aryan but by the end of the 14th century most of the Levant maryannu had Semitic names.

The Mitanni kingdom was referred to as the Maryannu, Nahrin or Mitanni by the Egyptians, the Hurri by the Hittites, and the Hanigalbat by the Assyrians. The different names seem to have referred to the same kingdom and were used interchangeably, according to Michael C. Astour.

Hittite annals mention a people called Hurri (Ḫu-ur-ri), located in northeastern Syria. A Hittite fragment, probably from the time of Mursili I, mentions a “King of the Hurri”. The Assyro-Akkadian version of the text renders “Hurri” as Hanigalbat. Tushratta, who styles himself “king of Mitanni” in his Akkadian Amarna letters, refers to his kingdom as Hanigalbat.

Egyptian sources call Mitanni “nhrn”, which is usually pronounced as Naharin/Naharina from the Assyro-Akkadian word for “river”, cf. Aram-Naharaim. The name Mitanni is first found in the “memoirs” of the Syrian wars (ca. 1480 BC) of the official astronomer and clockmaker Amenemhet, who returned from the “foreign country called Me-ta-ni” at the time of Thutmose I. Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt mention 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”.

The ethnicity of the people of Mitanni is difficult to ascertain. A treatise on the training of chariot horses by Kikkuli contains a number of Indo-Aryan glosses. Kammenhuber (1968) suggested that this vocabulary was derived from the still undivided Indo-Iranian language, but Mayrhofer (1974) has shown that specifically Indo-Aryan features are present.

The names of the Mitanni aristocracy frequently are of Indo-Aryan origin, but it is specifically their deities which show Indo-Aryan roots (Mitra, Varuna, Indra, Nasatya), though some think that they are more immediately related to the Kassites. The common people’s language, the Hurrian language, is neither Indo-European nor Semitic. However, a Hurrian passage in the Amarna letters – usually composed in Akkadian, the lingua franca of the day – indicates that the royal family of Mitanni was by then speaking Hurrian as well.

Hurrian is related to Urartian, the language of Urartu, both belonging to the Hurro-Urartian language family. It had been held that nothing more can be deduced from current evidence. Urartu, also known as Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili), was an Iron Age kingdom centred on Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. It corresponds to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat.

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. The landscape corresponds to the mountainous plateau between Anatolia, Mesopotamia, the Iranian Plateau, and the Caucasus Mountains, later known as the Armenian Highlands.

The language appears in cuneiform inscriptions. It is argued on linguistic evidence that proto-Armenian came in contact with Urartian at an early date (3rd-2nd millennium BC), before the formation of the Urartian kingdom. The kingdom rose to power in the mid-ninth century BC, but was conquered by the Medes in the early sixth century BC. The heirs of Urartu are the Armenians and their successive kingdoms.

The Mannaeans (country name usually Mannea; Akkadian: Mannai, possibly Biblical Minniּ) were an ancient people who lived in the territory of present-day northwestern Iran south of lake Urmia, around the 10th to 7th centuries BC. At that time they were neighbors of the empires of Assyria and Urartu, as well as other small buffer states between the two, such as Musasir and Zikirta.

In the Bible (Jeremiah 51:27) the Mannaeans are called Minni. In the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), Minni is identified with Armenia, but it could refer to one of the provinces in ancient Armenia; Minni, Ararat and Ashkenaz. According to examinations of the place and personal names found in Assyrian and Urartian texts, the Mannaeans, or at least their rulers, spoke Hurrian, a non-Semitic and non-Indo-European language related to Urartian, with no modern language connections.

Their kingdom was situated east and south of the Lake Urmia, roughly centered around the Urmia plain in this part of what is today named “Azerbaijan region of Iran”. Excavations that began in 1956 succeeded in uncovering the fortified city of Hasanlu, once thought to be a potential Mannaean site. More recently, the site of Qalaichi (possibly ancient Izirtu/Zirta) has been linked to the Mannaeans based on a stela with this toponym found at the site.

After suffering several defeats at the hands of both Scythians and Assyrians, the remnants of the Mannaean populace were absorbed by an Iranian people known as the Matieni and the area became known as Matiene. It was then annexed by the Medes in about 609 BC. The name Matiene is believed to be related to Mitanni which was founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class governing the Hurrian population. The name Matiene was applied also to the neighboring Lake Matianus (Lake Urmia) located immediately to the east of the Matieni people.

Aries

In the earliest Roman calendar, March was the first month, and the god would have been born with the new year.  Aries (meaning “ram”) is the first astrological sign in the zodiac, spanning the first 30 degrees of celestial longitude (0°≤ λ <30°).

According to the tropical system of astrology, the Sun enters the sign of Aries when it reaches the northern vernal equinox, which occurs around March 21. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this sign mostly between March 21 and April 19 each year. Under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits Aries from April 15 to May 14 (approximately).

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

Summer Triangle

The Summer Triangle is an astronomical asterism involving an imaginary triangle drawn on the northern hemisphere’s celestial sphere, with its defining vertices at Altair, Deneb, and Vega, the brightest stars in the three constellations of Aquila, Cygnus, and Lyra, respectively.

Near midnight, the Summer Triangle lies virtually overhead at mid-northern latitudes during the summer months, but can also be seen during spring in the early morning to the East. In the autumn the summer triangle is visible in the evening to the West well until November. From the southern hemisphere it appears upside down and low in the sky during the winter months.

Nerio

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

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

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

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Nerio was an ancient war goddess and the personification of valor. She was the partner of Mars in ancient cult practices, and was sometimes identified with the goddess Bellona, and occasionally with the goddess Minerva. Spoils taken from enemies were sometimes dedicated to Nerio by the Romans. Nerio was later supplanted by mythologized deities appropriated and adapted from other religions.

Venus

Venus is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity, victory, and desire. In Roman mythology, she was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, and was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles.

The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the later classical tradition of the West, Venus becomes one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality.

Tyr

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

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Týr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda). It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

The origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion.

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

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

Dyeus

Dyēus (also *Dyēus Phtḗr, alternatively spelled dyēws) is believed to have been the chief deity in the religious traditions of the prehistoric Proto-Indo-European societies. However, as the pantheons of the individual mythologies related to the Proto-Indo-European religion evolved, attributes of Dyeus seem to have been redistributed to other deities.

Part of a larger pantheon, he was the god of the daylight sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in society. In his aspect as a father god, his consort would have been Pltwih Méhter, “earth mother”.

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

Dis Pater

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

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

Cicero in his De Natura Deorum derives the name of Dīs Pater from dives, suggesting a meaning of “father of riches”, directly corresponding to the name Pluto (from Greek Ploutōn, meaning “wealthy”). Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of the same god as Jupiter (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus Phter).

Nergal

Nergal was a deity worshipped throughout Mesopotamia with the main seat of his worship at Cuthah represented by the mound of Tell-Ibrahim. He is a son of Enlil and Ninlil, along with Nanna and Ninurta. He seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. He has also been called “the king of sunset”.

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal, who was linked to Shamash, Babylonian god of the sun, 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.

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.

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”.

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

In 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.

Hel

The Excerptum ex Gallica Historia of Ursberg (ca. 1135) records a dea Ciza as the patron goddess of Augsburg. According to this account, Cisaria was founded by Swabian tribes as a defence against Roman incursions. This Zisa would be the female consort of Ziu, as Dione was of Zeus. The name Zisa could be derived from Ziu etymologically.

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. In the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and Heimskringla, Hel is referred to as a daughter of Loki, and to “go to Hel” is to die. The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance.

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.

Hausha

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

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

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

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.

The love goddess aspect was separated from the personification of dawn in a number of traditions, including Roman Venus vs. Aurora, and Greek Aphrodite vs. Eos. The name of Aphrodite Άφροδίτη may still preserve her role as a dawn goddess, etymologized as “she who shines from the foam [ocean]” (from aphros”foam” and deato “to shine”).

J.P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams (1997) have also proposed an etymology based on the connection with the Indo-European dawn goddess, from *abhor- “very” and *dhei “to shine”. Other epithets include Ἠριγόνη Erigone “early-born” in Greek.

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

The liberation

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).

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.

Ushas, Sanskrit for “dawn”, is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well. 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.

Sanskrit uṣas is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is uṣásas. It is from PIE *h₂ausos-, cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora. In the “family books” of the Rig Veda (e.g. RV 6.64.5), Ushas is the divine daughter—a divó duhitâ —of Dyaus Pita (“Sky Father”). This is taken literally in the traditional genealogies of Hindu mythology.

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.”

Ostara

Ēostre or Ostara is a Germanic goddess who, by way of the Germanic month bearing her name (Northumbrian: Ēosturmōnaþ; West Saxon: Ēastermōnaþ; Old High German: Ôstarmânoth ), is the namesake of the festival of Easter in some languages.

Ēostre is attested solely by Bede in his 8th-century work The Reckoning of Time, where Bede states that during Ēosturmōnaþ (the equivalent of April), pagan Anglo-Saxons had held feasts in Ēostre’s honor, but that this tradition had died out by his time, replaced by the Christian Paschal month, a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.

By way of linguistic reconstruction, the matter of a goddess called *Austrō in the Proto-Germanic language has been examined in detail since the foundation of Germanic philology in the 19th century by scholar Jacob Grimm and others.

As the Germanic languages descend from Proto-Indo-European (PIE), historical linguists have traced the name to a Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn *Hewsṓs (→ *Ausṓs), from which descends the Common Germanic divinity from whom Ēostre and Ostara are held to descend.

Additionally, scholars have linked the goddess’s name to a variety of Germanic personal names, a series of location names (toponyms) in England, and, discovered in 1958, over 150 inscriptions from the 2nd century BCE referring to the matronae Austriahenae.

Theories connecting Ēostre with records of Germanic Easter customs, including hares and eggs, have been proposed. Particularly prior to the discovery of the matronae Austriahenae and further developments in Indo-European studies, debate has occurred among some scholars about whether or not the goddess was an invention of Bede. Ēostre and Ostara are sometimes referenced in modern popular culture and are venerated in some forms of Germanic neopaganism.

Old English Ēostre continues into modern English as Easter and derives from Proto-Germanic *austrōn meaning ‘dawn’, itself a descendent of the Proto-Indo-European root *aus-, meaning ‘to shine’ (modern English east also derives from this root).

The goddess name Ēostre is therefore linguistically cognate with numerous other dawn goddesses attested among Indo-European language-speaking peoples. These cognates lead to the reconstruction of a Proto-Indo-European dawn goddess; the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture details that “a Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn is supported both by the evidence of cognate names and the similarity of mythic representation of the dawn goddess among various Indo-European groups” and that “all of this evidence permits us to posit a Proto-Indo-European *haéusōs ‘goddess of dawn’ who was characterized as a “reluctant” bringer of light for which she is punished. In the Indo-European stocks, Baltic, Greek and Indo-Iranian, the existence of a Proto-Indo-European ‘goddess of the dawn’ is given additional linguistic support in that she is designated the ‘daughter of heaven'”

In his 1835 Deutsche Mythologie, Jacob Grimm cites comparative evidence to reconstruct a potential continental Germanic goddess whose name would have been preserved in the Old High German name of Easter, *Ostara. Addressing skepticism towards goddesses mentioned by Bede, Grimm comments that “there is nothing improbable in them, nay the first of them is justified by clear traces in the vocabularies of Germanic tribes.”

Grimm notes that “all of the nations bordering on us have retained the Biblical pascha; even Ulphilas writes paska, not áustrô, though he must have known the word”. Grimm details that the Old High German adverb ôstar “expresses movement towards the rising sun”, as did the Old Norse term austr, and potentially also Anglo-Saxon ēastor and Gothic áustr. Grimm compares these terms to the identical Latin term auster. Grimm says that the cult of the goddess may have worshiped an Old Norse form, Austra, or that her cult may have already been extinct by the time of Christianization.

Grimm notes that the Old Norse Prose Edda book Gylfaginning attests to a male being called Austri, who Grimm describes as a “spirit of light.” Grimm comments that a female version would have been *Austra, yet that the High German and Saxon peoples seem to have only formed Ostarâ and Eástre, feminine, and not Ostaro and Eástra, masculine.

In the second volume of Deutsche Mythologie, Grimm picks up the subject of Ostara again, connecting the goddess to various German Easter festivities, including Easter eggs. Grimm comments on further Easter time customs, including unique sword dances and particular baked goods (“pastry of heathenish form”). In addition, Grimm weights a potential connection to the Slavic spring goddess Vesna and the Lithuanian Vasara.

Rheda

In Anglo-Saxon paganism, Rheda (Latinized from Old English *Hrêðe or *Hrêða, possibly meaning “the famous” or “the victorious” is a goddess connected with the month ‘”Rhedmonth”‘ (from Old English *Hrēþmōnaþ). Rheda is attested solely by Bede in his 8th century work De temporum ratione.

While the name of the goddess appears in Bede’s Latin manuscript as Rheda, it is reconstructed into Old English as *Hrēþe and is sometimes modernly anglicized as Hretha (also “Hrethe” or “Hrede”). Hrēþmōnaþ is one of three events (apart from the days of the week) that refer to deities in the Anglo-Saxon calendar—the other two being Ēostermōnaþ and Mōdraniht.

In chapter 15 of his work De temporum ratione, Bede provides information about English months and celebrations. Bede records that Hrēþmōnaþ is analogous to March, and details that “Hrethmonath is named for their goddess Hretha, to whom they sacrificed at this time” (Rhed-monath a Dea illorum Rheda, cui in illo sacrificabant, nominatur…). Bede notes that Hrēþmōnaþ occurs between Solmōnaþ (February), so named due to the offerings of cakes to the gods during the month, and Ēostermōnaþ (April), named after the goddess Ēostre.

19th-century scholar Jacob Grimm notes, while no other source mentions the goddesses Rheda and Ēostre, saddling Bede, a “father of the church, who everywhere keeps heathenism at a distance, and tells us less than he knows” with the invention of the goddesses Rheda and Ēostre would be uncritical, and that “there is nothing improbable in them, nay the first of them [Rheda] is justified by clear traces in the vocabularies of the German tribes.” Grimm proposes a connection between *Hrēþe and the Old High German female personal name Hruada. Grimm theorizes that the Old High German form of the goddess name Rheda was *Hrouda.

Rudolf Simek notes that Grimm’s derivation of the name Rheda means that Rheda “could have a similar meaning to the eponymous Roman god of the same month, Mars.” David Raoul Wilson comments that while “Bede gives us no clues as to the rituals involved during Rhedmonath and Eosturmonath, it is reasonable to assume that they related to the beginning of spring, the new growing season, and fertility.”

Aurvandil

The names Aurvandil or Earendel (Old Norse: Aurvandil; Old English: Ēarendel; Lombardic: Auriwandalo; Gothic: Auzandil; Old High German: Orentil, Erentil ; Medieval Latin: Horuuendillus) are cognate Germanic personal names, continuing a Proto-Germanic reconstructed compound *auzi-wandilaz “luminous wanderer”, in origin probably the name of a star or planet, potentially the morning star (Eosphoros).

The Old Norse variant appears in purely mythological context, linking the name to a star. The only known attestation of the Old English Earendel refers to a star exclusively.

The name is a compound whose first part goes back to *auzi- ‘dawn’, a combining form related to *austaz ‘east’, cognate with Ancient Greek ēṓs ‘dawn’, Sanskrit uṣā́s, Latin aurōra, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₂éuso-s ‘dawn’. The second part comes from *wanđilaz, a derivative of *wanđaz (cf. Old Norse vandr ‘difficult’, Old Saxon wand ‘fluctuating, variable’, English wander), from *wenđanan which gave in English wend.

A historical Orentil was a Bavarian count, recorded in the year 843. The name is reflected in toponymy, in the name of the village Orendelsall (now part of Zweiflingen municipality).

Jacob Grimm (1835) emphasizes the great age of the tradition reflected in the mythological material surrounding this name, without being able to reconstruct the characteristics of the Common Germanic myth. Viktor Rydberg in his Teutonic Mythology also assumes Common Germanic age for the figure.

In the Old English poem Crist I the name is taken to refer to John the Baptist, addressed as the morning star heralding the coming of Christ, the “sun of righteousness”. Compare the Blickling Homilies (p. 163, I. 3) which state Nu seo Cristes gebyrd at his aeriste, se niwa eorendel Sanctus Johannes; and nu se leoma thaere sothan sunnan God selfa cuman wille, that is, “And now the birth of Christ (was) at his appearing, and the new eorendel (morning-star) was John the Baptist. And now the gleam of the true Sun, God himself, shall come.”

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is the Morning Star, the planet Venus in its morning appearance. Another Greek name for the Morning Star is Heosphoros, meaning “Dawn-Bringer”. As an adjective, the Greek word is applied in the sense of “light-bringing” to, for instance, the dawn, the god Dionysos, pine torches, the day; and in the sense of “torch-bearing” as an epithet of several god and goddesses, especially Hecate but also of Artemis/Diana and Hephaestus.

Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera, the king and queen of the gods. In another version, he was Hera’s parthenogenous child, rejected by his mother because of his deformity and thrown off of Mount Olympus and down to earth.

As a smithing god, Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus. He served as the blacksmith of the gods, and was worshipped in the manufacturing and industrial centers of Greece, particularly Athens. The cult of Hephaestus was based in Lemnos. Hephaestus’ symbols are a smith’s hammer, anvil, and a pair of tongs.

According to most versions, Hephaestus’s consort is Aphrodite, who is unfaithful to Hephaestus with a number of gods and mortals, including Ares. However, in Book XVIII of Homer’s Iliad, the consort of Hephaestus is a lesser Aphrodite, Charis “the grace” or Aglaia “the glorious”—the youngest of the Graces, as Hesiod calls her.

Hephaestus’ Roman equivalent is Vulcan, the god of fire including the fire of volcanoes, metalworking, and the forge in ancient Roman religion and myth. Vulcan is often depicted with a blacksmith’s hammer. The Vulcanalia was the annual festival held August 23 in his honor. His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, the god of fire and smithery. In Etruscan religion, he is identified with Sethlans. The Minoan god’s identity would be that of a young deity, master of fire and companion of the Great Goddess.

Through his identification with the Hephaestus of Greek mythology, Vulcan came to be considered as the manufacturer of art, arms, iron, jewelry, and armor for various gods and heroes, including the lightning bolts of Jupiter. He was the son of Jupiter and Juno, and the husband of Maia and Aphrodite (Venus). His smithy was believed to be situated underneath Mount Etna in Sicily.

The Latin word lucifer, corresponding to Greek φωσφόρος, was used as a name for the morning star and thus appeared in the Vulgate translation of the Hebrew word ֵֵhelel, meaning Venus as the brilliant, bright or shining one, in Isaiah 14:12, where the Septuagint Greek version uses, not φωσφόρος, but ἑωσφόρος. As a translation of the same Hebrew word the King James Version gave “Lucifer”, a name often understood as a reference to Satan.

Modern translations of the same passage render the Hebrew word instead as “morning star”, “daystar”, “shining one” or “shining star”. In Revelation 22:16, Jesus is referred to as the morning star, but not as lucifer in Latin, nor as φωσφόρος in the original Greek text, which instead has the star, the shining one, the dawn.

In the Vulgate Latin text of 2 Peter 1:19 the word “lucifer” is used of the morning star in the phrase “until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts”, the corresponding Greek word being φωσφόρος.

The morning star is an appearance of the planet Venus, an inferior planet, meaning that its orbit lies between that of the Earth and the Sun. Depending on the orbital locations of both Venus and Earth, it can be seen in the eastern morning sky for an hour or so before the Sun rises and dims it, or (as the evening star) in the western evening sky for an hour or so after the Sun sets, when Venus itself then sets.

Venus is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, outshining the planets Jupiter and Saturn but, while these rise high in the sky, Venus never does. This may lie behind myths about deities associated with the morning star proudly striving for the highest place among the gods and being cast down.

In Greek mythology, Hesiod calls Phosphorus a son of Astraeus and Eos, but other say of Cephalus and Eos, or of Atlas. Astraea or Astrea (Ancient Greek: “star-maiden”), in ancient Greek religion, was a daughter of Astraeus and Eos. She was the virgin goddess of innocence and purity and is always associated with the Greek goddess of justice, Dike (daughter of Zeus and Themis and the personification of just judgement).

Astraea, the celestial virgin, was the last of the immortals to live with humans during the Golden Age, one of the old Greek religion’s five deteriorating Ages of Man. According to Ovid, Astraea abandoned the earth during the Iron Age. Fleeing from the new wickedness of humanity, she ascended to heaven to become the constellation Virgo.

The nearby constellation Libra reflected her symbolic association with Dike, who in Latin culture as Justitia is said to preside over the constellation. According to legend, Astraea will one day come back to Earth, bringing with her the return of the utopian Golden Age of which she was the ambassador.

The Latin poet Ovid, speaking of Phosphorus and Hesperus (the Evening Star, the evening appearance of the planet Venus) as identical, makes him the father of Daedalion. Ovid also makes him the father of Ceyx, while the Latin grammarian Servius makes him the father of the Hesperides or of Hesperis.

While at an early stage the Morning Star (called Phosphorus and other names) and the Evening Star (referred to by names such as Hesperus) were thought of as two celestial objects, the Greeks accepted that the two were the same, but they seem to have continued to treat the two mythological entities as distinct. Halbertal and Margalit interpret this as indicating that they did not identify the star with the god or gods of mythology “embodied” in the star.

In the philosophy of language, “Hesperus is Phosphorus” is a famous sentence in relation to the semantics of proper names. Gottlob Frege used the terms “the evening star” (der Abendstern) and “the morning star” (der Morgenstern) to illustrate his distinction between sense and reference, and subsequent philosophers changed the example to “Hesperus is Phosphorus” so that it utilized proper names.

Saul Kripke used the sentence to demonstrate that the knowledge of something necessary — in this case the identity of Hesperus and Phosphorus — could be discoverable rather than known a priori.

The Latin word corresponding to Greek “Phosphorus” is “Lucifer”. It is used in its astronomical sense both in prose and poetry. Poets sometimes personify the star, placing it in a mythological context.

Spring Triangle

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. These stars forms part of a larger Spring asterism called the Great Diamond together with Cor Caroli.

Vanir (Venus) and Asir (Tyr)

In Norse mythology, the Vanir are a group of gods associated with fertility, wisdom, nature, magic, and the ability to see the future. 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.'”

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.

 

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