Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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Pisces (Jesus) and Virgo (Mary)

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on December 28, 2018

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Kybele

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Theotokos: How the Mother Goddess became Mary

A (Anu, Taurus, Æsir), O (Omega, Odal rune) T (Dinger, Dyeus, Tyr)

Taurus (Bull of Heaven) / Scorpio (Ishara) 

Aries (Mars) / Libra (Inanna / Venus) 

Pisces (Jesus) / Virgo (Maria) 

XXX

Mars: Mars in culture – Wikipedia

Venus: The Queen of Heaven

Venus is a primary feature of the night sky, and so has been of remarkable importance in mythology, astrology and fiction throughout history and in different cultures. Venus is the planet of Friday. In languages deriving from Latin, such as Romanian, Spanish, French, and Italian, the word for Friday often resembles the word Venus.

In Norse Paganism, the planet is associated to Freyja, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility. Various plants in Scandinavia once bore her name, but it was replaced with the name of the Virgin Mary during the process of Christianization.

Venus is the Roman goddess, whose functions encompassed love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory. 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.

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 became one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality.

In Indian astrology, Venus is known as Shukra (“lucid, clear, bright”) and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction. The word Shukra is also associated with semen, or generation. It is named after a powerful saint Shukra. It was the son of Bhrgu, preceptor of the Daityas, and guru of the Asuras.

In the Old Babylonian period, the planet Venus was known as Ninsi’anna, and later as Dilbat. The name “Ninsi’anna” translates to “divine lady, illumination of heaven”, which refers to Venus as the brightest visible “star”.

Earlier spellings of the name were written with the cuneiform sign si4 (= SU, meaning “to be red”), and the original meaning may have been “divine lady of the redness of heaven”, in reference to the color of the morning and evening sky.

Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star.

She was originally worshipped in Sumer and was later worshipped by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians under the name Ishtar. She was known as the “Queen of Heaven” and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult center.

Her husband was the god Dumuzid the Shepherd (Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”; later known as Tammuz) and her sukkal, or personal attendant, was the goddess Ninshubur (who later became the male deity Papsukkal).

Venus: Morning and Evening Star

Because the movements of Venus appear to be discontinuous (it disappears due to its proximity to the sun, for many days at a time, and then reappears on the other horizon), some cultures did not recognize Venus as single entity; instead, they assumed it to be two separate stars on each horizon: the morning and evening star. The Egyptians knew the morning star as Tioumoutiri and the evening star as Ouaiti.

Though some ancient civilizations referred to Venus both as the “morning star” and as the “evening star”, names that reflect the assumption that these were two separate objects, the earliest recorded observations of Venus by the ancient Sumerians (a cylinder seal from the Jemdet Nasr period) show that they recognized Venus as a single object.

The Sumerians associated it with the goddess Inanna (known as Ishtar by the later Akkadians and Babylonians), and their myths of Inanna are often allegories for the apparent motions and cycles of the planet.

There is a tendency to conclude that the ancient Greeks thought that Eosphorus (Venus in the morning) and Hesperos (Venus in the evening), because of the distinction in the names, were two different celestial objects. 

And that the Greeks only later accepted the Babylonian view that the two were the same; and consequently that it was by a not original Babylonian influence that the identification of the planets with the great gods came to be. Thereby the Greeks dedicated the “wandering star” (planet) to Aphrodite (Roman Venus), as the equivalent of Ishtar.

This order of influence is not backed by scholars, nor any historical documents. Rather the two mythological explanations seem to have existed simultaneously and interchangeably. Pliny the Elder credited the realization that they were a single object to Pythagoras in the sixth century BCE, while Diogenes Laertius argued that Parmenides was probably responsible for this rediscovery.

Though they recognized Venus as a single object, the ancient Romans continued to designate the morning aspect of Venus as Lucifer, literally “Light-Bringer”, and the evening aspect as Vesper (cf. “evening”, “supper”, “evening star”, “west”), both of which are literal translations of their traditional Greek names.

Hesperus is the personification of the “evening star”, the planet Venus in the evening. His name is sometimes conflated with the names for his brother, the personification of the planet as the “morning star” Eosphorus (“bearer of dawn”) or Phosphorus (“bearer of light”, often translated as “Lucifer” in Latin), since they are all personifications of the same planet Venus.

“Heosphoros” in the Greek Septuagint and “Lucifer” in Jerome’s Latin Vulgate were used to translate the Hebrew “Helel” (Venus as the brilliant, bright or shining one), “son of Shahar (god) (Dawn)” in the Hebrew version of Isaiah 14:12.

Phosphorus is the Morning Star, the planet Venus in its morning appearance. Another Greek name for the Morning Star is Heosphoros, meaning “Dawn-Bringer”. The form Eosphorus is sometimes met in English, as if from Ēōsphoros, which is not actually found in Greek literature, but would be the form that would have in some dialects.

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.

The Latin word lucifer, corresponding to Greek, 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. As a translation of the same Hebrew word the King James Version gave “Lucifer”, a name often misunderstood 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”.

Inanna (Pisces) and Tammuz (Aries)

Inanna in her aspect as Anunītu 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. Today, the First Point of Aries, or the vernal equinox, is in the Pisces constellation.

Her husband was the god Dumuzid (Akkadian: Duʾzu, Dūzu; Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”), later known as Tammuz, who was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries. Tammuz is a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, also worshiped in the later Mesopotamian states.

The Levantine (“lord”) Adonis, the mortal lover of the goddess Aphrodite in Greek mythology, who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, was considered by Joseph Campbell among others to be another counterpart of Tammuz, son and consort. The Greek Adōnis was a borrowing from the Canaanite word ʼadōn, meaning “lord”, which is related to Adonai, one of the titles used to refer to the God of the Hebrew Bible and still used in Judaism to the present day.

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

Pisces

Today, the First Point of Aries, or the vernal equinox, is in the Pisces constellation. Pisces (Ancient Greek: Ἰχθύες Ikhthyes) is the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans 330° to 360° of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac the sun transits this area between February 19 and March 20, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits this area between approximately March 13 and April 13.

Pisces (Ancient Greek: Ἰχθύες Ikhthyes) is the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans 330° to 360° of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac the sun transits this area between February 19 and March 20, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits this area between approximately March 13 and April 13.

Neptune is the ruling planet of Pisces and is exalted in Leo. In classical 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.

He is the counterpart of the Greek god Poseidon. 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 wife.

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.

Enki is the Sumerian god of water, knowledge (gestú), mischief, crafts (gašam), and creation (nudimmud). He was later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. In Sumerian E-A means “the house of water”, and it has been suggested that this was originally the name for the shrine to the god at Eridu.

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). Pegasus is a constellation in the northern sky, named after the winged horse Pegasus in Greek mythology.

The ichthys or ichthus (“fish”), from the Greek ikhthýs (ἰχθύς 1st cent. AD) is a symbol consisting of two intersecting arcs, the ends of the right side extending beyond the meeting point so as to resemble the profile of a fish. The symbol was adopted by early Christians as a secret symbol. It is now known colloquially as the “sign of the fish” or the “Jesus fish”.

In classical interpretations, the symbol of the fish is derived from the ichthyocentaurs, who aided Aphrodite when she was born from the sea. However, it is one of the earliest zodiac signs on record, with the two fish appearing as far back as c. 2300 BC on an Egyptian coffin lid.

The age of Pisces began c. AD 1 and will end c. AD 2150. The story of the birth of Christ is said to be a result of the spring equinox entering into the Pisces, as the Savior of the World appeared as the Fisher of Men. This parallels the entering into the Age of Pisces. With the story of the birth of Christ coinciding with this date, many Christian symbols for Christ use the astrological symbol for Pisces, the fishes.

The figure Christ himself bears many of the temperaments and personality traits of a Pisces, and is thus considered an archetype of the Piscean. Moreover, the twelve apostles were called the “fishers of men,” early Christians called themselves “little fishes,” and a code word for Jesus was the Greek word for fish, “Ikhthus.”

While the astrological sign Pisces per definition runs from ecliptic 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. According to some tropical astrologers, the current astrological age is the Age of Pisces, while others maintain that it is the Age of Aquarius.

Dagon or Dagan (Sumerian: dda-gan) is an ancient Mesopotamian and ancient Canaanite deity. He appears to have been worshipped as a fertility god in Ebla, Assyria, Ugarit and among the Amorites. The Hebrew Bible mentions him as the national god of the Philistines with temples at Ashdod and elsewhere in Gaza.

A long-standing association with a Canaanite word for “fish” perhaps going back to the Iron Age, has led to an interpretation as a “fish-god”, and the association of “merman” motifs in Assyrian art. The god’s name was, however, more likely derived from a word for “grain”, suggesting that he was in origin associated with fertility and agriculture.

However, it is suggested that Berossos’s Odakon, part man and part fish, was a version of Dagon. Dagon was also equated with Oannes, an Abgal (Sumerian) or Apkallu (Akkadian), terms found in cuneiform inscriptions that in general mean either “wise” or “sage”, said to have taught people the creation myth the Enuma Elish. In Berossus, the first one is Oannes (a variant of Uanna).

Adapa was a Mesopotamian mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. Adapa was an important figure in Mesopotamian religion. His name would be used to invoke power in exorcism rituals. He also became an archetype for a wise ruler. Some scholars conflate Adapa and Uanna. There is some evidence for that connection, but the name “adapa” may have also been used as an epithet, meaning “wise”.

In several contexts the Apkallu are seven demi-gods, sometimes described as part man and part fish, associated with human wisdom; these creatures are often referred to in scholarly literature as the Seven Sages. Each sage has an association with a specific mythic King. After the seventh sage and king, a deluge is said to have occurred.

Records list further sages and further historic king pairings. Post-deluge, the sages are considered human, and in some texts are distinguished by being referred to as Ummanu, not Apkallu. The terms Apkallu (as well as Abgal) is also used as an epithet for kings and gods as a mark of wisdom or knowledge.

A further use of the term Apkallu is when referring to figurines used in apotropaic rituals; these figurines include fish-man hybrids representing the seven sages, but also include bird-headed and other figures. In a later work by Berossus describing Babylonia, the Apkallu appear again, also described as fish-men who are sent by the gods to impart knowledge to people.

Aries

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 from approximately March 20 to April 21 each year. The symbol of the ram is based on the Chrysomallus, the flying ram that provided the Golden Fleece. The fleece is a symbol of authority and kingship.

Dumuzid originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar. It is a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, also worshiped in the later Mesopotamian states of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia.

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

The Greek Adōnis was a borrowing from the Canaanite word ʼadōn, meaning “lord”, which is related to Adonai, one of the titles used to refer to the God of the Hebrew Bible and still used in Judaism to the present day.

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, 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.

Ninshubur was the sukkal or second-in-command of the goddess Inanna in Sumerian mythology. Her name means “Queen of the East” in ancient Sumerian. Much like Iris or Hermes in later Greek mythology, Ninshubur served as a messenger to the other gods.

Inanna-Ishtar’s most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the ancient Sumerian Underworld, a myth in which she attempts to conquer the domain of her older sister Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld, but is instead deemed guilty of hubris by the seven judges of the Underworld and struck dead.

Three days later, Ninshubur pleads with all the gods to bring Inanna back, but all of them refuse her except Enki, who sends two sexless beings to rescue Inanna. They escort Inanna out of the Underworld, but the galla, the guardians of the Underworld, drag her husband Dumuzid down to the Underworld as her replacement.

Dumuzid is eventually permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister Geshtinanna, the ancient Sumerian goddess of agriculture, fertility, and dream interpretation, the so-called “heavenly grape-vine”, remains in the Underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons.

In Norse mythology, Nanna Nepsdóttir or simply Nanna is a goddess associated with the god Baldr. After Baldr’s death, Nanna dies of grief. Nanna is placed on Baldr’s ship with his corpse and the two are set aflame and pushed out to sea. In Hel, Baldr and Nanna are united again.

Accounts of Nanna vary greatly by source. In the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, Nanna is the wife of Baldr («lord, prince, king») and the couple produced a son, the god Forseti (Old Norse “the presiding one,” actually “president” in modern Icelandic and Faroese), the god of justice and reconciliation in Norse mythology.

Baldr is a Æsir god of light, joy, purity, and the summer sun in Norse mythology. In addition to being loved by all gods and more physical beings, he was so handsome, generous, and good that he gave off light simply by the purity of his character.

Taurus – Scorpio

Taurus (Latin: Bull) is the second astrological sign in the present zodiac. It spans from 30° to 60° of the zodiac. The bull is its zodiac symbol. It is ruled by Venus and it is the sign where the Moon is exalted. The Sun transits in the sign of Taurus from approximately April 21 until May 20 in Western astrology.

The Age of Taurus spans approximately the period between 4400 and 2200 BC. It is the age defined by the Sun being in the constellation of Taurus on the spring equinox. Additional influences during this age are of Leo in the summer solstice, Scorpio in the autumnal equinox, and Aquarius in the winter solstice.

Taurus was the first sign of the zodiac established among the ancient Mesopotamians, who called it as the Bull of Heaven, because it was the constellation through which the sun rose on the vernal equinox at that time (in the Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze Age, from about 4000 BC to 1700 BC.). The Pleiades were closest to the Sun at vernal equinox around the 23rd century BC.

In Babylonian astronomy, the constellation was listed in the MUL.APIN as GU4.AN.NA, “The Bull of Heaven”. As this constellation marked the vernal equinox, it was also the first constellation in the Babylonian zodiac and they described it as “The Bull in Front”. The Akkadian name was Alu. To the early Hebrews, Taurus was the first constellation in their zodiac and consequently it was represented by the first letter in their alphabet, Aleph.

In the Old Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Ishtar sends Taurus, the Bull of Heaven, to kill Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. Enkidu tears off the bull’s hind part and hurls the quarters into the sky where they become the stars we know as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Some locate Gilgamesh as the neighboring constellation of Orion, facing Taurus as if in combat, while others identify him with the sun whose rising on the equinox vanquishes the constellation.

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

The same iconic representation of the Heavenly Bull was depicted in the Dendera zodiac, an Egyptian bas-relief carving in a ceiling that depicted the celestial hemisphere using a planisphere. In these ancient cultures, the orientation of the horns was portrayed as upward or backward. This differed from the later Greek depiction where the horns pointed forward.

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

Due to the precession of the equinox, it has since passed through the constellation Aries and into the constellation Pisces. Cults centered around Sacred bulls began to form in Assyria, Egypt, and Crete during the Age of Taurus, known as “The Age of Earth, Agriculture, and the Bull”.

According to astrology the Moon is the ruling planet of Cancer and is exalted in Taurus. In Chinese astrology, the Moon represents Yin, the passive and receptive feminine life principle. In Indian astrology, the Moon is called Chandra or Soma and represents the mind, queenship and mother.

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 as more knowledge about the planet’s character has been revealed, majority of modern astrologers opinion, denote Ceres being the ruler for Taurus, however, Ceres is exalted in Virgo. In an updated revision, Virgo is ruled by Chiron and exalted in Sagittarius.

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

Some astrologers have hypothesized about the existence of unseen or undiscovered planets. In 1918, astrologer Sepharial proposed the existence of Earth’s “Dark Moon” Lilith, and since then, some astrologers have been using it in their charts; though the same name is also (and now, more commonly) used in astrology to refer to the axis of the actual Moon’s orbit.

The 20th-century German school of astrology known as Uranian astrology also claimed that many undiscovered planets existed beyond the orbit of Neptune, giving them names such as Cupido, Hades, Zeus, Kronos, Apollon, Admetos, Vulcanus, and Poseidon, and charting their supposed orbits. These orbits have not coincided, however, with more recent discoveries by astronomers of objects beyond Neptune.

Other astrologers have focused on the theory that in time, all twelve signs of the zodiac will each have their own ruler, so that another two planets have yet to be discovered; namely the “true” rulers of Taurus and Virgo. The names of the planets mentioned in this regard by some are Vulcan (ruler of Virgo) and Apollo, the Roman god of the Sun (ruler of Taurus).

Scorpio

Scorpio is the eighth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans 210°–240° ecliptic longitude. Under the tropical zodiac (most commonly used in Western astrology), the Sun transits this area on average from October 23 to November 22. Under the sidereal zodiac (most commonly used in Hindu astrology), the Sun is in Scorpio from approximately November 16 to December 15.

Ishara (išḫara) is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. She first appeared in Ebla and was incorporated to the Hurrian pantheon from which she found her way to the Hittite pantheon.

The etymology of Ishara is unknown. In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar. She was associated with the underworld. Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and she is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars).

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

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar, the East Semitic Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. Ishtar is the counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna, and is the cognate for the Northwest Semitic Aramean goddess Astarte. Like Ishtar, the Greek Aphrodite and the Aramean Northwestern Semitic Astarte were love goddesses.

Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath. As a goddess, Ishara could inflict severe bodily penalties to oathbreakers, in particular ascites. In this context, she came to be seen as a “goddess of medicine” whose pity was invoked in case of illness. There was even a verb, isharis- “to be afflicted by the illness of Ishara”.

Sherida is one of the oldest Mesopotamian gods, attested in inscriptions from pre-Sargonic times, her name (as “Aya”) was a popular personal name during the Ur III period (21st-20th century BCE), making her among the oldest Semitic deities known in the region.

As the Sumerian pantheon formalized, Utu became the primary sun god, and Sherida was syncretized into a subordinate role as an aspect of the sun alongside other less powerful solar deities (c.f. Ninurta) and took on the role of Utu’s consort.

When the Semitic Akkadians moved into Mesopotamia, their pantheon became syncretized to the Sumerian. Inanna to Ishtar, Nanna to Sin, Utu to Shamash, etc. The minor Mesopotamian sun goddess Aya became syncretized into Sherida during this process.

The goddess Aya in this aspect appears to have had wide currency among Semitic peoples, as she is mentioned in god-lists in Ugarit and shows up in personal names in the Bible. Aya is Akkadian for “dawn”, and by the Akkadian period she was firmly associated with the rising sun and with sexual love and youth.

The Babylonians sometimes referred to her as kallatu (the bride), and as such she was known as the wife of Shamash. By the Neo-Babylonian period at the latest (and possibly much earlier), Shamash and Aya were associated with a practice known as Hasadu, which is loosely translated as a “sacred marriage.”

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

In ancient times, Scorpio was associated with the planet Mars. Scorpio is also associated with the Greek deity Artemis, who is said to have created the constellation Scorpius. Scorpio’s colours are deep red, maroon, brown, and black.

Scorpio is associated with three different animals: the scorpion, the snake, and the eagle (or phoenix). The snake and eagle are related to the nearby constellations of Ophiuchus and Aquila. Aquila is a constellation on the celestial equator. Its name is Latin for ‘eagle’ and it represents the bird that carried Zeus/Jupiter’s thunderbolts in Greco-Roman mythology. Its brightest star, Altair, is one vertex of the Summer Triangle asterism.

In ancient Egypt, Aquila possibly was seen as the falcon of Horus. According to Berio, the identification of Aquila as an Egyptian constellation, and not merely Graeco-Babylonian, is corroborated by the Daressy Zodiac. Under the sign of Sagittarius is the falcon of Horus, presumably because Aquila rises with Sagittarius.

Libra

Venus is the ruling planet of Libra and is exalted in Pisces. Libra is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans 180°–210° celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between (northern autumnal equinox) September 23 and October 23, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Libra from approximately October 16 to November 17.

The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. She became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice, who originates from the personification of Justice in Ancient Roman art known as Iustitia or Justitia (after Latin: Iustitia), who is equivalent to the Greek goddesses Themis and Dike.

Astraea, the celestial virgin, is the virgin goddess of justice, innocence, purity and precision. She 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 the Greek goddess of justice, Dike, the daughter of Zeus and Themis, who in Latin culture as Justitia is said to preside over the constellation. Lady Justice attributes are a blindfold, a balance, and a sword. She often appears as a pair with Prudentia, who holds a mirror and a snake.

In the Tarot, the 8th card, Justice, with a figure of Justitia, can thus be considered related to the figure of Astraea (“star-maiden” or “starry night”), in ancient Greek religion a daughter of Astraeus and Eos, on historical iconographic grounds.

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

Virgo

Pisces has been called the “dying god,” where its sign opposite in the night sky is Virgo, or, the Virgin Mary. Virgo, is the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 150-180th degree of the zodiac. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between August 23 and September 22, and the Sun transits the constellation of Virgo from approximately September 16 to October 30.

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

The constellation Virgo has multiple different origins depending on which mythology is being studied. Most myths generally view Virgo as a virgin/maiden with heavy association with wheat. In Egyptian mythology, the time when the constellation Virgo was in the sun was the beginning of the wheat harvest, thus connecting Virgo back to the wheat grain.

Early Greek astronomy associated the Babylonian constellation with their goddess of wheat and agriculture, Demeter. The Romans associated it with their goddess Ceres. Another figure who is associated with the constellation Virgo was the spring goddess Persephone, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter who had married Hades and resided in the Underworld during summer, or Proserpina, the Roman goddess of the harvest.

Alternatively, the constellation was sometimes identified as the virgin goddess Iustitia or Astraea, holding the scales of justice in her hand (that now are separated as the constellation Libra). 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.

Another Greek myth from later, Classical times, identifies Virgo as Erigone, the daughter of Icarius of Athens. Icarius, who had been favored by Dionysus and was killed by his shepherds while they were intoxicated after which Erigone hanged herself in grief; in versions of this myth, Dionysus is said to have placed the father and daughter in the stars as Boötes and Virgo respectively.

In the Poeticon Astronomicon by Hyginus (1st century BC), Parthenos (meaning virgin in Greek) is the daughter of Apollo and Chrysothemis, who died a maiden and was placed among the stars as the constellation, which explains how the actual constellation Virgo came to be.

Shala was an ancient Sumerian goddess of grain and the emotion of compassion. The symbols of grain and compassion combine to reflect the importance of agriculture in the mythology of Sumer, and the belief that an abundant harvest was an act of compassion from the deities. In ancient depictions, she carries a double-headed mace or scimitar embellished with lion heads. Sometimes she is depicted as being borne atop one or two lionesses.

Hadad (Ugaritic), Adad, Haddad (Akkadian) or Iškur (Sumerian) was the storm and rain god in the Northwest Semitic and ancient Mesopotamian religions. His consort (both in early Sumerian and the much later Assyrian texts) was Shala, a goddess of grain, who is also sometimes associated with the god Dagon (Phoenician: Dāgūn; Hebrew: Dagan; Sumerian: dda-gan), an ancient Mesopotamian and ancient Canaanite deity.

China

In ancient Eastern Indian mythology, the fish is a symbol of transformation and creation. This is observed in the ancient flood myth in which Vishnu transformed himself into a fish (Matsya) to save the world from a great flood.

Various mythology of China involves fish or fish-like beings. Part human, part sea creatures of the Mermaid type appear. The Kun (or Peng) was a giant monstrous fish transformation of the Peng bird. Carp that leapt the dragon gate falls of the Yellow River were said to transform into dragon. This was used as a symbol for a scholar’s successful graduation in the Imperial examination system.

The Queen Mother of the West, known by various local names, is a goddess in Chinese religion and mythology, also worshipped in neighbouring Asian countries, and attested from ancient times. The first historical information on her can be traced back to oracle bone inscriptions of the fifteenth century BC that record sacrifices to a “Western Mother”.

The first mentions of the Queen Mother date back to the oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang dynasty (1766 – 1122 BC). The exact nature of the Mother divinities in the Shang dynasty is unclear, but they were seen as powerful forces deserving of ritual by the people of the Shang dynasty.

Originally, from the earliest known depictions of her in the Guideways of Mountains and Seas during the Zhou dynasty, she was a ferocious goddess with the teeth of a tiger, who sent pestilence down upon the world. After she was adopted into the Taoist pantheon, she was transformed into the goddess of life and immortality.

The Bamboo Annals record that in the 9th year of reign of the legendary sage king Emperor Shun, “messengers from the western Wang-mu (Queen Mother) came to do him homage.” It further notes that “the coming to court from the Western Wang-mu was to present white stone rings and archers’ thimbles of gem.”

Shun’s immediate successor was Yu the Great, who was Shun’s prime minister and already present in the court at this time. The Xunzi, a third-century BC classic of statecraft written by Xun Kuang, wrote that “Yu studied with the Queen Mother of the West”. This passage refers to Yu the Great, the legendary founder of the Xia dynasty, and posits that the Queen Mother of the West was Yu’s teacher.

It is believed that she grants Yu both legitimacy, and the right to rule, and the techniques necessary for ruling. The fact that she taught Yu gives her enormous power, since the belief in Chinese thinking is that the teacher automatically surpasses the pupil in seniority and wisdom.

Sumer

Ma is a Sumerian word meaning “land” that in Sumerian mythology was also used to regard Primordial Land. The underworld Kur, the first dragon god, is the void space between the primeval sea (Abzu), the name for fresh water from underground aquifers which was given a religious fertilising quality in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology, and the earth (Ma). Which seem a likely pairing for parentage, in a fuzzy set of records.

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

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

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, 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. She may have been of greater importance prehistorically, before Enki took over most of her functions. It is she who has given birth to the great gods, and 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.

In the religion of ancient Babylon, Tiamat (Akkadian: TI.AMAT or TAM.TUM, Greek: Thaláttē) is a primordial goddess of the salt sea, mating with Abzû, the god of fresh water, to produce younger gods. She is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation. She is referred to as a woman, and described 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.

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

Enraged, she, too, wars upon her husband’s murderers, taking on the form of a massive sea dragon, 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.

Tiamat possessed the Tablet of Destinies and in the primordial battle she gave them to Kingu, the deity she had chosen as her lover and the leader of her host, and who was also one of her children. The deities gathered in terror, but Anu, (replaced later, first by Enlil and, in the late version that has survived after the First Dynasty of Babylon, by Marduk, the son of Ea), first extracting a promise that he would be revered as “king of the gods”, overcame her, armed with the arrows of the winds, a net, a club, and an invincible spear.

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

Akitu or Akitum (lit. “the barley-cutting”; “barley-sowing”; “head of the year”) was a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia. The name is from the Sumerian for “barley”, originally marking two festivals celebrating the beginning of each of the two half-years of the Sumerian calendar, marking the sowing of barley in autumn and the cutting of barley in spring.

It has been suggested that the original non-anthropomorphic divinity at Eridu was not Enki but Abzu. Enki and later Ea were apparently depicted, sometimes, as a man covered with the skin of a fish, and this representation, as likewise the name of his temple E-apsu, “house of the watery deep” at Eridu, points decidedly to his original character as a god of the waters.

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. It is likely that E-A is the Sumerian short form for “Lord of Water”, as Enki is a god of water. Ab in Abzu also means water.

With Enki, the Sumerian god of water, knowledge (gestú), mischief, crafts (gašam), and creation (nudimmud), 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'”.

The main temple to Enki was 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. It was the first temple known to have been built in Southern Iraq.

Four separate excavations at the site of Eridu have demonstrated the existence of a shrine dating back to the earliest Ubaid period, more than 6,500 years ago. Over the following 4,500 years, the temple was expanded 18 times, until it was abandoned during the Persian period.

On this basis it has been hypothesized that the original deity of the temple was Abzu, with his attributes later being taken by Enki over time. It is believed that, during the earliest period, Enki had a subordinate position to a goddess (possibly Ninhursag), taking the role of divine consort or high priest, later taking priority.

Around the excavation of the 18 shrines found on the spot, thousands of carp bones were found, consumed possibly in feasts to the god. These features were found at all subsequent Sumerian temples, suggesting that this temple established the pattern for all subsequent Sumerian temples.

The pool of the Abzu at the front of his temple was adopted also at the temple to Nanna (Akkadian Sin) the Moon, at Ur, and spread from there throughout the Middle East. It is believed to remain today as the sacred pool at Mosques, or as the holy water font in Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches.

Enki was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization. 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. 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.

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

In the epic Enki and Ninhursag, Enki, as lord of Ab or fresh water (also the Sumerian word for semen), is living with his wife in the paradise of Dilmun. However, Dilmun had no water and Enki heard the cries of its goddess, Ninsikil, and orders the sun-god Utu to bring fresh water from the Earth for Dilmun.

Dilmun has been identified with Bahrain, whose name in Arabic means “two seas”, where the fresh waters of the Arabian aquifer mingle with the salt waters of the Persian Gulf. Bahrayn is the dual form of Arabic bahr (“sea”), so al-Bahrayn originally means “the two seas”. It remains disputed which “two seas” the name Bahrayn originally refers to.

The subsequent tale, with similarities to the Biblical story of the forbidden fruit, repeats the story of how fresh water brings life to a barren land. Enki, the Water-Lord then “caused to flow the ‘water of the heart” and having fertilised his consort Ninhursag, also known as Ki or Earth, after “Nine days being her nine months, the months of ‘womanhood’… like good butter, Nintu, the mother of the land, …like good butter, gave birth to Ninsar, (Lady Greenery)”.

When Ninhursag left him, as Water-Lord he came upon Ninsar (Lady Greenery). Not knowing her to be his daughter, and because she reminds him of his absent consort, Enki then seduces and has intercourse with her. Ninsar then gave birth to Ninkurra (Lady Fruitfulness or Lady Pasture), and leaves Enki alone again. A second time, Enki, in his loneliness finds and seduces Ninkurra, and from the union Ninkurra gave birth to Uttu (weaver or spider, the weaver of the web of life).

A third time Enki succumbs to temptation, and attempts seduction of Uttu. Upset about Enki’s reputation, Uttu consults Ninhursag, who, upset at the promiscuous wayward nature of her spouse, advises Uttu to avoid the riverbanks, the places likely to be affected by flooding, the home of Enki. In another version of this myth Ninhursag takes Enki’s semen from Uttu’s womb and plants it in the earth where eight plants rapidly germinate.

With his two-faced servant and steward Isimud, “Enki, in the swampland, in the swampland lies stretched out, ‘What is this (plant), what is this (plant).’ His messenger Isimud, answers him; ‘My king, this is the tree-plant’, he says to him. He cuts it off for him and he (Enki) eats it”. And so, despite warnings, Enki consumes the other seven fruit. Consuming his own semen, he falls pregnant (ill with swellings) in his jaw, his teeth, his mouth, his hip, his throat, his limbs, his side and his rib.

The gods are at a loss to know what to do; chagrined they “sit in the dust”. As Enki lacks a birth canal through which to give birth, he seems to be dying with swellings. The fox then asks Enlil, King of the Gods, “If I bring Ninhursag before thee, what shall be my reward?” Ninhursag’s sacred fox then fetches the goddess.

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 later given to the 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.

Ma / Cybele (Venus)

Ma was a local goddess at Comana in Cappadocia. Her name Ma means “Mother”, and she also had the epithets “Invincible” and “Bringer of Victory”. Ma has been interpreted as a mother goddess, but at the same time as a warrior goddess, as her name and epithets indicate both. She was associated with the transition of adulthood of both genders, and sacred prostitution was practiced during her biennial festivals.

She has been identified with a number of other deities, indicating her function. She has been compared to Cybele and Bellona, an ancient Roman goddess of war. The ancient Greeks compared Ma to the goddess Enyo and Athena Nicephorus. Plutarch likened her with Semele and Athena. Enyo was a goddess of war in Classical Greek mythology. She frequently is associated with the war god Ares, as a companion, sister, wife, or perhaps, mother.

Originally named Duellona in the Italic languages, the cult figure who became Bellona was an ancient Sabine goddess of war and identified with Nerio, the consort of the war god Mars – and later with her Greek equivalent Enyo. Her main attribute is the military helmet worn on her head; she often holds a sword, spear, or shield, and brandishes a torch or whip as she rides into battle in a four-horse chariot.

Ma was introduced and worshiped in Macedonia together with other foreign deities. She is described as a local Anatolian goddess, with her cult centered around her temple at Komana in Cappadocia and later Cataonia (Latin: Comana Cataoniae; frequently called Comana Chryse or Aurea, i.e. “the golden”, to distinguish it from Comana in Pontus).

The Hittite toponym Kummanni is considered likely to refer to Comana, but the identification is not considered proven. Its ruins are at the modern Turkish village of Şar, Tufanbeyli district, Adana Province. Another epithet for the city, found in inscriptions, is Hieropolis ‘sacred city’, owing to a famous temple of the Syrian Moon goddess Enyo or, in the local language: Ma (cf. Men, the moon goddess of Caria).

Ma was a local goddess at Ma and a Phrygian alternative name for Cybele, an Anatolian mother goddess who may have a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük in Anatolia, where statues of plump women, sometimes sitting, have been found in excavations dated to the 6th millennium BC and identified by some as a mother goddess.

Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubileya/Kubeleya Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”) is an Anatolian mother goddess. She was Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies around the 6th century BC.

In Greece, Cybele is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions. Her association with hawks, lions, and the stone of the mountainous landscape of the Anatolian wilderness, seem to characterize her as mother of the land in its untrammeled natural state, with power to rule, moderate or soften its latent ferocity, and to control its potential threats to a settled, civilized life.

In Greece, as in Phrygia, she was a “Mistress of animals” (Potnia Therōn), with her mastery of the natural world expressed by the lions that flank her, sit in her lap or draw her chariot. As an exemplar of devoted motherhood, she was partly assimilated to the grain-goddess Demeter.

In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater (“Great Mother”). The Roman state adopted and developed a particular form of her cult after the Sibylline oracle recommended her conscription as a key religious ally in Rome’s second war against Carthage.

Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome’s eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanized forms of Cybele’s cults spread throughout the Roman Empire.

Perhaps most significantly, Cybele was the mother of a god-hero son Attis, who died and was resurrected by her. His priests were eunuchs, the Galli, as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis and castration. Attis was also a Phrygian god of vegetation. In his self-mutilation, death and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.

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.

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

Germanic

In Norse mythology, Heimdallr is a god who possesses the resounding horn Gjallarhorn (Old Norse: “yelling horn” or “the loud sounding horn”), owns the golden-maned horse Gulltoppr (Old Norse “golden mane”), has gold teeth, and is the son of Nine Mothers (who may represent personified waves).

Heimdallr is attested as possessing foreknowledge, keen eyesight and hearing, and keeps watch for invaders and the onset of Ragnarök while drinking fine mead in his dwelling Himinbjörg, located where the burning rainbow bridge Bifröst meets the sky.

Due to the problematic and enigmatic nature of these attestations, scholars have produced various theories about the nature of the god, including his apparent relation to rams, that he may be a personification of or connected to the world tree Yggdrasil, and potential Indo-European cognates.

Scholars have theorized that Heimdallr’s Nine Mothers may be identical to the Nine Daughters of Ægir and Rán, who personify waves. In turn, Heimdallr would be born of the sea.

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 the sea, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth, and crop fertility.

The name Njörðr corresponds to that of the older Germanic fertility goddess Nerthus, a goddess associated with fertility, and both derive from the Proto-Germanic *Nerþuz. The original meaning of the name is contested, but it may be related to the Irish word nert which means “force” and “power”.

The name Nerthus is generally held to be a Latinized form of 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.

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’.

It has been suggested that the change of sex from the female Nerthus 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.

The name Njörðr may be related to the name of the Norse goddess Njörun (Old Norse: Njǫrun, sometimes modernly anglicized as Niorun). 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 or be the unnamed sister-wife of Njörðr.

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 probably originates as a divine personification of Mars’ power, as such abstractions in Latin are generally feminine. A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Neriene were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23.

The consort of Mars was Nerio or Neriene, “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”).

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 Germanic mythology, Týr (Old Norse), Tíw (Old English), and Ziu (Old High German) is a god. Stemming from the Proto-Germanic deity *Tīwaz and ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European deity *Dyeus, little information about the god survives beyond Old Norse sources.

Due to the etymology of the god’s name and the shadowy presence of the god in the extant Germanic corpus, some scholars propose that Týr may have once held a more central place among the deities of early Germanic mythology.

Týr is the namesake of the Tiwaz rune, a letter of the runic alphabet corresponding to the Latin letter T. By way of the process of interpretatio germanica, the deity is the namesake of Tuesday (‘Týr’s day’) in Germanic languages, including English.

Interpretatio romana, in which Romans interpret other gods as forms of their own, generally renders the god as Mars, the ancient Roman war god, and it is through that lens that most Latin references to the god occur.

For example, the god may be referenced as Mars Thingsus (Latin ‘Mars of the Thing’) on 3rd century Latin inscription, reflecting a strong association with the Germanic thing, a legislative body among the ancient Germanic peoples still in use among some of its modern descendants.

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

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