"The search for meaning is the search for expression of one’s real self."
James F. Masterson
The Sumerians made the earliest known codes of law. They developped of the
city-state and created literary, musical, and architectural forms that
influenced all of Western civilization.
The Sumerians were believed to introduce the first system of writing, cuneiform. Both Cuneiform and Heiroglyphics date to sometime around 2500 BC.
However, the discovery of inscribed shards dating to c. 2800-2600 BC at the site of Harappa in northern Pakistan attested that a writing system, having some 250 to 500 characters, developed in the Indus Valley decades, and possibly centuries, earlier than the Sumerian civilization. But the origins of the civilization are not to be found on the Indus Valley, at the ancient city site of Harappa or at the large city Mohenjo-daro ("the mound of the dead", 2500-1700 BC) having a perimeter of 5 km and different quarters housing families specialized in different crafts.
Our civilization roots are much deeper, going some 8,500 years ago, when
Catalhoyuk (or Catal Huyuk) settlement appeared in Anatolia (Turkey).
It was a city of 10,000 people. The unearthed skeletons are showing that the people of Catalhoyuk were shorter
and thinner than today's people and that they lived until they were 65 or 70
Small, tightly packed houses, each a single room whose only entrance was from the roof by a ladder. Each house was formed of mud brick and kept incredibly clean, all evidences of trash and refuse were found neatly deposited in courtyards created specifically for that purpose. Inside each house was a sleeping platform, expansively covering the east wall with other platforms of various sizes strewn about the room. Five to ten people used to live in houses made of brick and having an area of 50-60 square metres.
A house was abandoned after it was used for almost 100-150 years. Then, a new house was constructed on the former house and in this way was formed a tumulus. Interestingly, there was little variation in signs of wealth or possessions from house to house.
Spread over more than 32 acres, Catal Huyuk is the largest Neolithic site discovered to date.
all of her aspects, Roman, Greek, and Oriental, the Great Mother was
characterized by essentially the same qualities. Most prominent among them was
her universal motherhood. She was the great parent not only of gods but also of
human beings and beasts. Her name was Cybele or Cybebe in Greek
and Roman literature from about the 5th century BC onward. Her full official
Roman name was Mater Deum Magna Idaea (Great Idaean Mother of the Gods).
She was known at Pessinus as Agdistis, from Mount Agdos (or Mount
Agdistis) in the vicinity.
agree in locating the rise of the worship of the Great Mother in the
general area of Phrygia
in Asia Minor (now in west-central Turkey), and during classical times
her cult centre was at Pessinus, located on the slopes of Mount Dindymus, or
Agdistis (hence her names Dindymene and Agdistis). Phrygians, who
called her Mater Kubileya, a name that seems to mean 'Mountain Mother'.
From Asia Minor her cult spread first to Greek territory. The Greeks always saw
in the Great Mother a resemblance to their own goddess Rhea and finally identified the two completely.
Mother goddess figures are found in almost every ancient religion, but these figures, who were usually only goddesses of fertility and reproduction in general, should not be confused with the Great Mother of the Gods, who was regarded as the giver of life to gods, human beings, and beasts alike. Other cultures are said to worship the Great Mother as Ishtar in Sumner, Artemis in Ephesus, Aphrodite in Cyprus, Ma in Cappadocia. In all these guises she is supposed to represent the creative, nutritive feminine element, the power of wild nature and of the fertility of the earth. The Greeks adopted her as Cybele, the goddess of caverns. She personified primitive and savage earth and was worshipped on the top of mountains.
She ruled over wild animals and in her representations they became part of her entourage as were the lions. She wore a turreted crown typical of Asian mother-goddesses or placed in a chariot drawn by two lions.
Cybele made her way into the Roman pantheon on instructions contained in the Sibylline Books in 205 B.C. which prophesied that Rome would be delivered from Carthaginian invasion led by Hannibal. Her emblem was initially a black meteorite, but she was later changed into her more prevalent appearance as a goddess with a crown of towers or chariot and the two lions. Her roman name initials are MDMI (Mater Deum Magna Idaea).
According to the legend, she loved a beautiful yound sheperd named Attis (Attinis). According to the earliest version, Attis was killed, as was the Syrian Adonis, by a boar. All later versions, however, refer to wild revelry and castration.
is always represented standing on a throne or in a chariot and accompanied by
two lions. the throne and the two lions
were considered everywhere the attributes of royalty and were used in all royal
some cultures, having strong matriarchal roots, the queen was the ruler, while
in the patriarchal societies it was the king. Now days we can still find the
prevalent position of the queen over the king in European countries like UK and
Denmark. This is the consequence of their Celtic roots.
It’s well known that Celtic women had a high esteem among their communities and that they used to fight naked. This can be observed from the coins of the Redoncs Celts (horsewoman) and from an armorican coin (runing warrior).
At Celtic tribes, nakedness was not related to sexuality as it was not in the ancient neolithic civilizations. Nakedness was regarded as the manifestation of the power of controlling the wild nature. Even today, in India they say that if a woman meets a tiger, it won’t attack her if she gets naked. Nakedness as manifestation of the power is still found in the midnight rituals of the witches.The Celtic and witch holiday of Beltaine celebrates a sacred marriage feast, crowning a May King and Queen, also called the Lord and Lady or John Thomas and Lady Jane.
is the cult of the Great Mother, represented as Cybele, we can understand by
comparing her Roman representation with the famous statue of a woman standing
upon a throne with two leopards at her side, found in Catalhoyuk.
We can find that 6,000 years before the Romans, there was present a similar Goddess, in the same region in which the cult of Cybele originated. The difference is that the statue from Catalhoyuk depicts an ugly old, fat and naked woman. Probably, the ancient Great Mother of Catalhoyuk was not a goddess, but a Queen, the ruler of the community, who protected it from the attacks of the wild animals. Her Roman representation, into a chariot, suggests that the old and fat Queen accompanied in a chariot the hunters, whenever they were hunting. Because horses were not tamed by that time, is likely that the Queen’s chariot was really drawn by the lionesses tamed by her. Most probably, the leopards were used in hunts to trace, catch and kill the pray. Also, they were the instruments by which the Queen imposed her power inside the community.
The power of taming the wild animals is the main attribute of the Mountain Mother
and of the Greek goddess Artemis. The wrath of Artemis
was proverbial, and represented the wild nature's hostility to humans.
The poets after Homer, stressed Artemis' chastity. Athenian women had cults of their own, such as that of Artemis at Brauron, where young Athenian girls served the goddess in a ritual, as "little bears" which was, a initiation in wild animals taming.
With the beginning the metal age, the weapons became much more effective in the combat against the wild animals. It also lead to much more effective plows and agriculture. The protection offered by the Great Mother lost much of its object. The matriarchal societies were replaced with the patriarchal ones, and the significance of woman nakedness changed from that of power over wild nature to that of fertility, sexuality and maternity. Therefore, in the cult of Cibele, a special emphasis was placed on her maternity over wild nature, which was manifested by the orgiastic character of her worship.
The dual role of the woman as mother and lover and the opposition between these two conditions has never been depicted in art. However, 8,000 tears ago, at Catalhoyuk, there was created this unique statue that represents the duality of the woman condition. It represents also the position of the woman into matriarchal family: she owned the child and as well the lover, she was the bonding element of the society.
In Anatolya, at Cayonu, was found an even older statue, from 7,000 BC, representing the duality nature of the woman. Again, no similar depiction was created afterwards, into the patriarchal societies who brutally separated these two conditions of the woman: motherhood and sexuality. Thus appeared the cult of the Virgin Goddess, as paradox of the mother without any sexual attributes, and the sacred prostitutes.
The patriarchal culture saw a woman being mother dissociated from her sexual aspect. This image was required whenever were some battles between different tribes and the prisoner mothers were enslaved or killed together with their child, while the prisoner young womans were made prostitutes or sexual slaves.
Our culture displays a rabid fear of death, fate, and accident, and an
especially strong fear of being forgotten; the people of Catalhoyuk, however,
were on intimate terms with death in ways which would terrify us.
The dead were buried in the city's houses, a foot under the surface of sleeping platforms; one would literally sleep, make love, and give birth lying atop one's mother's bones. Women and some children were buried under the large sleeping platform on the east wall of the dwelling and men and some children (though never together) under other platforms in the house (see http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~clit387/Catal.html).
No provisions, no food or water vessels, and no figurines of any kind (of either deities or servants) were buried with the body. The dead were buried in a fetal posture, wrapped in cloth. These two aspects are suggesting the belief in imminent rebirth. Most probably, it was believed that the dead ones would be reborn in the same house where their bones were buried.
In all ancient cultures, the spirit was associated to a bird. The deliverance of the spirit from the body and the ascension of the spirit to the heaven were done by a vulture.
The vulture shrines of Catalhoyuk portray in frescoes the excarnation practices wherein the dead were exposed, in open funeral houses, to the tearing beak of the griffin vulture, which stripped the skeleton of soft tissue. One painting shows a vulture with human legs, wings outspread over a tiny headless figure; it is the Goddess in her vulture epiphany. Both flesh and spirit were returning, in this way, to the Mother Goddess who will provide for the spirit a new body and a new life.
The Goddess appears having a vulture head in her representations on the funeral objects. This representation was found on a large area including Anatolia and the Balkan Peninsula. In Karanovo, Bulgaria, was found a funeral mask, dating from 4,000 BC. Even if it is a funeral object, it contains a symbol of the Goddess' Motherhood: the downward triangle, representing her sex and life generation. She has her hands over it, indicating the future rebirth.
The most elaborate representation of the Goddess was found in Greece, on a vase depicting Artemis. It contains virtually all the attributes of the Goddess:
The patriarchal era began with the metal age. The metal weapons and plows boosted the efficiency of hunting and agriculture. By metal tools became possible the carving of the stones and their inscription with signs, which lead to writing systems. The sculpturing of the stones became much easier. Men did all these activities.
The role of the woman became much more discrete and related to house activities. However, the entire spirituality was inherited from the matriarchal society but gradually the role of the Goddess was token by a God. The Goddess continued to be worshiped under different names in different regions, but her attributes were restrained towards sexuality. This was the consequence of the enriched society, where the exceeding wealth opened the way of a series of activities connected mostly with the cult of the personality, with warfare and with everything that could bring pleasure.
In early patriarchal representations, the Goddess preserved her attribute of taming the wild nature, being represented standing over its king, the
lion, not as an old fat woman but as a young and slim one, governing over sexual love and
Hathor also called Athyr, was the goddess of the sky, of women, and of fertility and love, in ancient Egyptian religion. She is represented standing on a lion and thus dominating the lion as the symbol of the king, in the presence of (left) the Egyptian fertility god Min and (right) a god holding a spear.
Hathor's worship originated in predynastic times (4th millennium BC). The name Hathor means "estate of Horus" and may not be her original name. Her principal animal form was that of a cow, and she was strongly associated with motherhood. Hathor, the female companion of Apis the Bull, was often pictured as a naked lady, having horns and holding the Sun on her head. Hathor was closely connected with the sun god Re (Ra) of Heliopolis, whose "eye" or daughter she was said to be. In her cult centre at Dandarah in Upper Egypt, she was worshiped with Horus. At Dayr al-Bahri, in the necropolis of Thebes, she became "Lady of the West" and patroness of the region of the dead.
In the Late Period (1st millennium BC), women aspired to be assimilated with Hathor in the next world, as men aspired to become Osiris.
Similarly to Hathor,
was depicted the Syrian fertility goddess Qudsh.
The root of her name is the Hebrew "qadosh", meaning "holy".
Starting from this new look of the Goddess, and from her name, appeared the Quedesha (Kedesha or Kedeshah), Akkadian Qadishtu, who were a class of sacred prostitutes found throughout the ancient Middle East, especially in the worship of Astarte (Ashtoreth), Akkadian Ishtar, who was the goddess of fertility, sexual love and war.
Initially, the Jews had worshiped pagan deities, derived from
Astarte (Ashtart), as Anat, chief West Semitic goddess of love and war, and
Prior to the conquest of Canaan (Palestine) by the Israelites in the 12th-11th century BC, the high places served as shrines of Asherot. In Canaanite religion, Asherim (upright wooden poles symbolizing the goddess) often were erected on the high places. Jews adopted the Canaanite Asherot as Asherah, who lost her dominant position by becoming the consort of the supreme god El and by him she was the mother of 70 gods, according to the texts from Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra, Syria). Her full name was probably "She Who Walks in the Sea," but she was also called "Holiness," and, occasionally, Elath, "the Goddess".
Asherah was represented accompanied by two scapegoats. It is similar to the Greek representation of Artemis having on one side the bullhead an on the other its blood. The wings/arms of Artemis’ depiction are suggested by the plumes from Asherah’s hands. The touch of the Goddess’wing/plume was equivalent to the dedication to sacrifice.
The sacrifice of the scapegoat was part of Anath’s worship. From Anath’s ritual derived the term “Anathema” (Greek anatithenai: "to set up," or "to dedicate"), which signified in the Old Testament, a creature or object set apart for sacrificial offering. Its return to profane use was strictly banned, and such objects, destined for destruction, thus became effectively accursed as well as consecrated. Old Testament descriptions of religious wars call both the enemy and their besieged city anathema inasmuch as they were destined for destruction. In New Testament usage a different meaning developed. St. Paul used the word anathema to signify a curse and the forced expulsion of one from the community of Christians.
Anath also spelled Anat, the chief West Semitic goddess of love and war, the sister and helpmate of the god Baal was similar to the Greek goddess Artemis and also to Virgin Mary. Considered a beautiful young girl, she was often designated "the Virgin" in ancient texts.
At Efes, where was erected one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the temple of Artemis, is present today the church of Virgin Mary, who lived there the last period of her life.
Probably one of the best known of the
Canaanite deities, Anath was famous for her youthful vigour and ferocity in battle.
After Baal was swallowed up by Mot, his sister, Anath, longs for him like a
mother. She finds Baal and buries him. She then defeats Mot and disposes of his
body as if it were grain, grinding him up and scattering him over land and sea.
Anath was depicted as the lady of the serpent skirt, the goddess with many short phalli dangling about her waist.
The serpent was a symbol of the sexual energy.
In India, the main attribute of the Goddess was the “Sakti” representing the power of the serpent. In Yogic tradition, Sakti is represented as a coiled serpent, sleeping at the basis of the spine. Its awakening brings the arousal of Kundaliny energy and its ascension, through the spine, towards the brain. By this process, are developed the paranormal powers, which transforms a men into a God.
In Tantric cosmology, existence is a fall from unity between the genders, where subject and object, mind and body are at first in intimate and divine unity and then begin to separate from their wholeness.
When the power of the serpent is not controlled, it is used, during the sexual intercourse, for the generation of a new life.
With the developing of the patriarchal society, the Goddess' priestesses were replaced with priests. Later God
replaced the Goddess herself.
It is interesting to note that the priests of Cybele copied her former priestesses: the so called Galli were castrated and dressed in woman clothes.
The blood resulted from the castration or from the circumcision was the substitute of the menstrual blood, used in the Goddess worship during the matriarchal age. In late Judaic religion, both castration and menstrual blood became impure so that on the altar was used the blood of the sacrificed animals. The custom of exchanging clothes during Saturnalia and Bacchanalia was an activity frowned upon by the Jews and Christians as it is prohibited by the Bible, Deuteronomy 22;5 "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy god"
The god Hermes in order to become a god of magic went into the temple of his consort Aphrodite where he wore a woman's robes and artificial breasts. In the temple he learned all the secrets of the Goddess Aphrodite which were exclusively taught to her female priestesses. The priests of the very masculine Greek hunk, Hercules, always wore female dress, probably in memory of Hercules service in female dress to the Queen Omphale.
Old godesses such as Anath fertilized themselves with the blood of men and bulls, Cybele is noted for her castrations and the ancient myth of human origin is from clay and menstrual
The Mesopotamian mother goddess Ninhursag was said to make men out of loam and her "blood of life." She taught women to make loam dolls for use in a conception spell by painting them with their menstrual blood.
Human sacrifice, practiced in Vedic India, was continued later by the followers of the goddess Kali (Sanskrit: "Black"), to whom a male child was sacrificed every Friday evening. Kali is depicted as a hideous, black-faced hag smeared with blood, with bared teeth and protruding tongue. Her four hands hold, variously, a sword, a shield, the severed hand of a giant, or a strangling noose, or they are stretched in a gesture of assurance. Kali is naked, except for her ornaments, consisting of a garland of skulls and a girdle of severed hands. In painting and in sculpture, she is often shown dancing on the inert body of her consort, Siva.
Kali is said to have developed a taste for blood when she was called upon to kill the demon Raktavija, who produced 1,000 more like himself each time a drop of his blood fell on the Earth. In order to vanquish him, she pierced him with a spear and, holding him high, drank his blood before it reached the ground.
Early Christians were accused of consuming sacrificial victims at nocturnal feasts. That's why the Romans condemned them as criminals.
Jesus says: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever. The bread which I will give is my flesh which I give for the life of the world." (John 6:51 ). In the verse 53, Jesus goes on to declare, "Verily, verily I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whosoever eateth of my flesh and drinketh my blood shall have eternal life and I shall raise him up the last day for my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me and I in him."
Castration was a form of sacrifice meant to replace the sacrifice by death.
One of the best kept secrets of early Christianity was its preaching of castration for the special inner circle of initiates, who won extra grace with this demonstration of chastity. Tertullian declared, "The kingdom of heaven is thrown open to eunuchs."
The Martyr Saint Justin advised that Christian boys be emasculated before puberty, so their virtue was permanently protected.
The wisdom of Solomon says "Blessed is the eunuch, which with his hands has wrought no iniquity."
Jesus himself advocated castration: "There be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (Matthew 19:12).
The widespread ethnic distribution of circumcision as a ritual and the quite
widely preferred use of a stone knife rather than a metal one suggest a great
antiquity of the operation (see the "Back" stone
knife from Catal Huyuk).
Wherever the operation is performed as a traditional rite, it is done either
before or at puberty and sometimes, as among some Arab peoples, immediately
In ancient Egypt also, boys on their way to circumcision wore girls' clothing, and were followed by a woman sprinkling salt, a common Egyptian symbol of life-giving menstrual blood.
Circumcision took place at the age of thirteen, the number of months in a year according to ancient menstrual calendars, and the traditional age of menarche.
In India, boys were dressed as girls, wearing a nose ring, on the eve of the circumcision ceremony.
The cult of the Goddess shifted to the cult of the Goddess and her son. So appeared the cult of
Cybele and her son Attis. Later, Attis the self castrated God became the main character of the
Hilaria, 25 March, celebrating the resurrection of Attis became in Christianity the festival of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, precisely nine moths before the official birth date of Jesus and Mithra, on 25 December.
This is coming from an ancient custom where the king was killed after having sexual intercourse with the high priestess. His rebirth took place through his offspring, nine months later.
Tertullian, an important early Christian theologian, initiator of ecclesiastical Latin, admitted that the "divine mysteries" of Christianity were virtually the same as the "devilish mysteries" of pagan saviors like Attis. Popularity of Attis's cult in Rome led to Christian adoption of some of the older god's ways.
The king sacrifice in prehistoric Greece may well have taken the form of castration, as reflected in the myth of Ouranos' castration by Cronos, and by association Aphrodite Ourania in her castrating bee-goddess form. This Aphrodite in turn is likely to have derived from the Phrygian Great Mother Cybele and her castrated lover Attis, as well as to the Egyptian Isis and her castrated Osiris.
The king was either regularly sacrificed after a fixed term of say seven years, or might live on as long as his fertility lasted, as in Israel with David. The sacred king of Nemi lived only so long as no other male could take him inmortal combat, upon snapping the sacred branch. Barbara Walker points that Kingship throughout Mesopotamia was realized only through hieros-gamos with the earthly representative of the Goddess. Ode 36 of the Odes of Solomon says: "I rested on the Spirit of the Lord, and she raised me up to heaven."
"The most vivid example on record of an 'immolation' of the sacred king is probably that in Duarte Barbosa's Description of the Coasts of East Africa and Malabar in the Beginning of the Sixteenth Century. The god-king of the south Indian province of Quilacare in Malabar (an area having a strongly matriarchal tradition to this day) had to sacrifice himself at the end of the length of time required by the planet Jupiter for a circuit of the zodiac and return to its moment of retrograde motion in the sign of Cancer-which is to say, twelve years. When his time came, the king had a wooden scaffolding constructed and spread over with hangings of silk. And when he had ritually bathed in a tank, with great ceremonies and to the sound of music, he proceeded to the temple, where he paid worship to the divinity. Then he mounted the scaffolding and, before the people, took some very sharp knives and began to cut off parts of his body - nose, ears, lips, and all his members, and as much of his flesh as he was able - throwing them away and round about, until so much of his blood was spilled that he began to faint, whereupon he slit his throat." (Campbell 1959 165).
Sumer and Akkad celebrated the sacred marriage ritual at the Spring Equinox, then the New Year, after the return of the god Dumuzi or Tammuz from the underworld. This feast of collective pleasure involved the whole populace and lasted many days, according to At Mann and Jane Lyle in Sacred Sexuality.
The Hieros Gamos, or Sacred marriage ritual has been dated as far back as early Sumerian, about 5500 years ago. In this ritual the high priestess acting as avatar of The Goddess had sex with the ruler of the country to show the Goddess's acceptance him as ruler and caretaker of her people. The sacred marriage was the realm of the highest ranked sacred prostitute, the nu gig ("pure or spotless"), but under the Akkadian conquerors of Sumer, sacred prostitutes made up an entire complex hierarchy.
Here is part of the ceremony as translated from an ancient Sumerian poem.
The High Priestess, acting for Inanna, is speaking to Dumuzi the new king.
"My vulva, the horn,
The boat of Heaven,
Is full of eagerness like the young moon.
My untilled land lies fallow.
As for me, Inanna,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will plow my high field?
Who will plow my wet ground?
As for me, the young woman,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will station the ox there?
Who will plow my vulva?
Dumuzi, the king replies:
Great Lady, the king will plow your vulva,
I, Dumuzi the King, will plow your vulva Inanna accepts him saying:
Then plow my vulva, man of my heart
Plow my vulva.
Then follows more details of the happenings
My eager impetuous caresser of the navel,
My caresser of the soft thighs;
He is the one my womb loves best,
My high priest is ready for the holy loins.
My lord Dumuzi is ready for the holy loins.
The plants and herbs in his field are ripe.
O Dumuzi, Your fullness is my delight.
The high priestess then directs things to be readied
Inanna called for the bed.
Let the bed that rejoices the heart be prepared
Let the bed that sweetens the loins be prepared
Let the bed of kingship be prepared!
Let the bed of queenship be prepared!
Let the royal bed be prepared!
This bed was set up in front of the entire congregation. The people watched the entire ritual including the sexual part.
He shaped my loins with his fair hands,
The shepherd Dumuzi filled my lap with cream and milk.
He stroked my pubic hair.
He watered my womb.
He laid his hands on my holy vulva,
He smoothed my black boat with cream,
He quickened my narrow boat with milk.
He caressed me on the bed.
The King went with lifted head to the holy loins.
He went with lifted head to the loins of Inanna
He went to the queen with lifted head.
He opened wide his arms to the holy priestess of heaven.
We rejoiced together.
He took his pleasure of me.
He laid me down on the fragrant honey-bed
My sweet love, lying by my heart,
Tongue-playing, one by one,
My fair Dumuzi did so fifty times.
Now, my sweet love is sated." (Quoted by Qualls-Corbett)
The length of a king's reign was often predetermined, because people thought the Goddess needed the refreshment of a new lover at stated intervals.
Ashurbanipal said he ruled by the grace of Ishtar. The goddess queen's choice largely depended on the candidate's sex-appeal. If she tired of the king's lovemaking, he could be deposed or killed, for the queen's sexual acceptance of him determined the fertility of the land.
In many early societies the old king was killed by a new king, usually called a "son" although he was no blood relative.
Kings of Thebes and Caanan ruled for seven years. Kings of Zimbabwe were strangled by their wives every four years until 1810 AD. Sacrifice of Kings extended from Africa to Greece and Early Rome.
With respect to the male gods, James Frazer in the 14 volumes of The Golden Bough documented myths from all over the world and every period of history that told of the death and rebirth of a vegetative god/king. Following Frazer's lead, Robert Graves could generalize about Greece: "Early Greek mythology is concerned, above all else, with the changing relations between the queen and her lovers, which begin with their yearly, or twice-yearly sacrifices; and end, at the time when the Iliad was composed... with her eclipse by an unlimited male monarchy. Numerous African analogues illustrate the progressive stages of this change."hn [The Greek Myths, 1955, Volume 1]
Barbara Walker comments: "Human or animal, the sacrificial victims of ancient cultures were almost invariably male. Worshippers of Shiva sacrificed only male animals; the god himself ordered that female animals must never be slain.' Males were expendable, for there were always too many for a proper breeding stock. The same was true even of human sacrifices, which were men, not women. "The fertility of a group is determined by the number of its adult women, rather than by its adult men." Therefore male blood only was poured out on the earliest altars, in imitation of the female blood that gave "life." That is why totemic animal-ancestors were more often paternal than maternal. The animals'blood and flesh, ingested by women, was thought to beget human offspring; and the rule was "Whatever is killed becomes father." The victim was also god, and king."
The new King dispatches the old in the presence of the Goddess Sumer 2300 BC (Campbell 1962 or 42)
"One man should die for the people... that the whole nation perish not" (John 11:50). Yahweh forgave no sins without bloodshed: "without shedding blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22).
"When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone" (John 6:15).
"He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him" (John 6:56).
Romans did express disapproval of the Jews or Christians cannibalistic sacraments. Porphyry called it "absurd beyond all absurdity, and bestial beyond every sort of bestiality, that a man should taste human flash and drink the blood of men of his own genus and species, and by doing should have eternal life."
Like Mithra and all the other solar gods, he celebrated a birthday nine months later at the winter solstice, because the day of his death was also the day of his cyclic re-conception.
In the mysteries of Eleusis, which the writer Diodorus said came from Crete, where they were an open festival, it appears Demeter took the role played by Inanna in Sumer, ruling the endless cycle of death, fertility and rebirth, and consummating a sacred union. Of her mysteries, Mann and Lyle quote the Bishop of Amaseia, in the 5th century A.D.: "Is there not performed the descent into darkness, the venerated congress of the hierophant with the priestess, of him alone with her alone? Are not the torches extinguished and does not the vast and countless assemblage believe that in what is done by the two in the darkness is their salvation?"
Barbara G. Walker writes in Jesus Christ:
<<Nothing in Jesus's myth occurred at random; every detail was part of a formal sacrificial tradition, even
to the "processiong of palms" which glorified sacred kings in ancient Babylon.
From 103 to 76 B.C., Jerusalem was governed by Alexander Janneaus, called the Aeon, who defended his throne by fighting challengers. One year, on the Day of Atonement, his people attacked him at the alter, waving palm branches to signify that he should die for the earth's fertility. Alexander declined the honor and instituted a persecution of his won subjects. The waving of the palm branches was a symbol for the touch of the Goddess' wing/plume which meant the consecration to the sacrifice.
The most likely source of primary Christian mythology was the Tammuz cult in Jerusalem. Like Tammuz, Jesus was the Bridegroom of the Daughter of Zion (John 12:15). Therefore his bride was Anath, "Virgin Wisdom Dwelling in Zion," who was also the Mother of God. Her dove decended on him at his baptism, signifying (in the old religion)
that she chose him for the love-death, Anath broke her bridegroom's reed scepter, schourged him and pierced him for fructifying blood.
Louis Charbonneau-Lassay claims in the apocryphal Gospel to the Hebrews, Christ says, of his temptation in the desert, "My Mother, who is the Holy Spirit..."
As is noted by scholars, the dove is certainly an ancient Mother Goddess symbol, without doubt. Paul MacKendrick noted that the cult of Eros and Aphrodite, ritually washed and sacrificed the dove.
Albright noted the dove as being an important symbol to the female Mother Goddess figures around ancient Israel.
Ode 24 of the Odes of Solomon proclaims: "The dove fluttered over the head of our Lord Messiah, because he was her Head."
As the Gospels said of Jesus, Anath's bridegroom was "forsaken" by El, his heavenly father. Jesus's cry to El, "My God, God, why hast thou forsaken me?" seems to have been a line written for the second act of the sacred drama, the pathos or Passion (Mark 15:34).
Of course this Passion was originally a sexual one. Jesus's last words "it is done" from consummatum est which would be better interpeted as "it is consummated", this was interpreted as a sign that his was finished, but could equally apply to his marriage (John 19:30).
As a cross or pillar represented the divine phallus, so a temple represented the body of the Goddess, whose "veil" (hymen) was "rent in the midst" as Jesus passed into death (Luke 23:45). As usual when the god disappeared into the underworld, the sun was eclipsed (Luke 23:44).
In their ignorance of astronomical phenonema, Christians claimed that the moon was full at the same time -- Easter is still a full-moon festival -- though an eclipse of the sun can only occur at the dark of the moon. The full moon really meant impregnation of the Goddess.
The parting of Jesus's garment recalls the unwrapping of Osiris when he emerged from the tomb as the ithyphallic Min, "Husband of his Mother." If Jesus was one with his heavenly father, then he also married his mother and begot himself.
Augustine wrote: "Like a bridegroom Christ went forth from his chamber, he went out with a presage of his nuptials....He came to the marriage bed of the cross, and there, in mounting it, he consummated his marriage...., he lovingly gave himself up to the torment in place of his bride, and he joined himself to the woman for ever." John 19:41 says, "In the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid." A garden was the conventional symbol for te body of the mother/bride at that time; and a new tomb was the virgin womb, whence the god would A king of Jerusalem took the name of Menelaus, "Moon-king," and practiced the rite of sacred marriage in the temple. Herod also made a sacred marriage, and had John the Baptist slain as a surrogate for himself.
When Titus conquered Jerusalem and outlawed many local customs including human sacrifice. Jerusalem was
wholly Romanized under Hadrian. It was newly named Aelia Capitolina and rededicated to the Goddess. The temple became a shrine of Venus.
Tacitus described the siege of Jerusalem, but his writing is abruptly cut off at the moment when Roman forces entered the city -- as if the final chapters were deliberately distoryed -- so no one knows what the Romans found there. However, Romans did express disapproval of the Jews or Christians cannibalistic sacraments. Porphyry called it "absurd beyond all absurdity, and bestial beyond every sort of bestiality, that a man should taste human flash and drink the blood of men of his own genus and species, and by doing should have eternal life.">>
Sacred prostitution was among the main factors that lead to the assembly of large communities into the first state-cities as was Babylon.
The socializing role of the prostitutes is depicted into the epic of Gilgamesh, written between 1800 and 1600 B.C. It also refers to the lost paradise as the primordial state of the man when he was capable to communicate with the wild animals and live in peace with them.
The wild man Endiku is sent to live on the steppe outside Gilgamesh's city, Uruk. There he romps with the wild animals and tears up the huntsmen's traps. The aggrieved hunters come to Gilgamesh planning Endiku's capture; Gilgamesh suggests getting a harimtu (sacred prostitute) to lure him. A harimtu agrees to do so and when Endiku appears lays "bare her ripeness," opening her garments. This technique works like a charm. Endiku makes love to her for the next six days and seven nights. After this experience, Endiku is tamed. He finds he can no longer communicate with the wild animals, which now flee from him. But he has gained in wisdom and understanding. He goes to the harimtu and asks advice as to what to do next; she suggests he go to the city and says she will introduce him to Gilgamesh. However, she cautions, he first must learn how to act in the king's court. She offers to teach him social graces, including in Furlong's interpretation how to eat with utensils, and he accedes.
Herodotus stated: "It was the Egyptians who first made it an offence against piety to have intercourse with women in temples, or to enter temples after intercourse without having previously washed. Hardly any nation except the Egyptians and Greeks has any such scruple, but nearly all consider men and women to be, in this respect, no different from animals, which, whether they are beasts or birds, they constantly see coupling in temples and sacred places -- and if the god concerned had any objection to this, he would not allow it to occur."
Sacred prostitution was always widely practiced in Greece, particularly in the temples of Aphrodite, most famously in her birthplace Cyprus and in Corinth. In Corinth, she was known as "Aphrodite the Courtesan" and "Aphrodite Who Writhes," and Strabo in the first century B.C. says 1000 sacred prostitutes worked in her temple there, the same number at Mount Eryx in Sicily. But the proud priestesses of love had in most cases been replaced by slaves, and though Hesiod said the sacred prostitutes, or horae, "mellowed the behavior of men," their function was more to serve men's pleasure than to enoble them through sacred contact with the Goddess.
As late as 150 A.D., the women of Corinth took strangers as lovers on the feast day of Adonis.
By the time of Herodotus, the cultures of Greece and Lydia were indistinguishable, except that the Lydian woman all prostituted themselves to earn dowries, and Lydian men judged their potential wives, not by how much money they had earned, but by how man different men with whom they had sex.
Herodotus, writing about the Babylonians states: "Babylonian custom compels every woman of the land once in her life to sit in the temple of love and have intercourse with some stranger. The men pass and make their choice. It matters not what be the sum of money; the woman will never refuse, for that were a sin, the money being by this act made sacred. After their intercourse she has made herself holy in the sight of the Goddess and goes away to her home."
One hundred and fifty years later, Quintus Curtius, the historian who accompanied Alexander the Great on his conquests, reported:
"There is none other more corrupt than this people, or none other more learned in the art of pleasure and voluptuaries. Fathers and mothers suffered their daughters to prostitute themselves to their guests for silver and husbands were not less indulgent with respect to their wives. The Babylonians plunged into drunkenness and all the disorders which follow it. The women appeared at the banquets with modesty at first, but they ended by abandoning their robes, then the rest of their garments one after another, disrobing themselves little by little of modesty until they were entirely naked. And these were not public women who abandoned themselves so; they were the most respectable matrons and their daughters."
In Rome, a certain class of prostitutes, lupae, or she-wolves, attracted clients with wailing howls; remember that the wolf is the symbol of Mother Rome. Underlining the link between sexual ecstasy and death, the busturariae worked in graveyards, providing sex on tombstones and funeral mourning services.
In an Anatolian inscription from 200 A.D. a woman named Aurelia proudly announced she had served in temple by taking part in sexual customs, as had her mother and all her female ancestors.
Hosea described in the eighth century B.C. the Goddess rites (4:11-14):
"Wine and new wine take away the understanding. My people inquire of a thing of wood, and heir staff gives them oracles. For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the harlot. They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and make offerings upon the hills, under oak, poplar and terebinth, because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the arlot, and your brides commit adultery. I will not punish your daughters when they play the harlot, nor your brides when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go aside with harlots, and sacrifice with cult prostitutes."
The cult of "Bogoroditsa" (or to be exact, "Ones that gived birth to the God") is strong in Russian Orthodox Church, but "Bogoro-ditsa" is also a main figure of Russian cults. Thus, the sect of "Khlisti" (or whippers), [few centuries old and flourishing during the years before the Revolution of 1917] was worshipping carefully chosen "Bogoro-ditsa." Usually, "Bogoroditsa" was a young girl.
The so called "radenya" (joyous gatherings) could be compared to the ancient mysteries, were in fact collective orgies. They started from ritual dancing, self-flagellation, undressing. Then, with a rising rhythm and intensity of a dance, they would culminate in copulation of a group with a "Bogoroditsa."
The appearance of the crescent or the full moon is sometimes celebrated by a
rest from work, and some attempt to participate in the waxing and waning of the
moon by analogous magical rites. Girls with small breasts stand in the full
moonlight (in the Salzburg, Austria, area); persons who desire a tumor to
decrease point to the waning moon; and newborn children often are exposed to the
waning moonlight, or they and everything else that is desired to be healthy and
permanent are dyed white; i.e., they are made "moonlike."
The three dark days of the "death" of the moon are believed by many to be dangerous. During this period the moon is believed to be defeated in a battle with monsters that eat and later regurgitate the moon; or the moon is viewed as having been killed by other heavenly beings and later revived. During this time, people, if possible, do not engage in a new enterprise. This last period was closely related with the last period of a woman cycle: the menstruation, when, from ancient times, women used to live isolated into a special place, assimilated later with the temple.
The oldest depiction of the relationship between the crescent and the woman,
dates from 18,000 BC.
In a cave from Laussel, France, was found a representation of a naked woman holding a crescent in her right hand. The crescent is marked with 13 lines, suggesting the 13 cycles of the Moon (364 days) during a year. Also, by placing her left hand on her womb, she suggests her 13 menstruations throughout the year.
Studies have shown that peak conception rates and probably ovulation appear to occur at the full moon or the day before, especially if no artificial light is used during the nighttime. It is also known that women living together soon synchronize their menses.
Most probable, that cave was a sacred place used by women during their periods.
Animals, such as wild dogs, would be considered predators and the smell of a woman bleeding could endanger the tribe. If the woman separated from the rest of the tribe, less energy would be spent running from wild dogs leaving more time available for gathering food.
It is no wonder that one of the first animals to be tamed was the dog. Hecate, the Greek goddess of death has a black dog. The jackal evolved into one of the greatest Egyptian Gods - Anubis, guardian of the dead and messenger of Osiris.
The Yurok population of Northern California isolated menstruating women because they believed it was a time when she was at the height of her powers. The young girls and menopausal women attended to the duties of the households while the menstruating women retreated into solitude to access wisdom and vision. All of their energies were applied in concentrated meditation. For them, the menses was a powerful, positive phenomenon with esoteric significance. Some South American Indians, for instance, thought that all mankind was created out of "moon blood."
In the Bible's "Genesis" the name Adam is derived from "adamah," which can be translated as "bloody loam."
Nanna, the Sumerian name for the moon
goddess, may have originally meant only the
full moon, whereas Su-en, later contracted to Sin, designated the crescent moon.
The crescent, Nanna's emblem, was sometimes represented by the horns of a great bull, similarly to the egiptian goddess Hathor. Nanna bestowed fertility and prosperity on the cowherds, governing the rise of the waters, the growth of reeds, the increase of the herd, and therefore the quantity of dairy products produced.
In Mesopotamia (Babylonia) the most popular god was Nabu, the son of Marduk, who knows all and sees all, who was chief, especially during the centuries immediately preceding the fall of Babylon.
Nanna was the Lady of Hearing and of Favour. She was rarely invoked apart from her husband, Nabu, whose name means "speaking." Thus, while Nabu speaks, Nanna listens. This is represented as a serpent spitting into a crescent shaped vase.
Sin, named also
Nannar, was represented as an old man with a flowing beard, a
wise and unfathomable god, wearing a headdress of four horns surmounted by a
crescent moon. This headdress was the prototype of the latter crown, worn by all
the kings. Sin was also represented with a turban on his head.
The last king of Babylon, Nabonidus (reigned c. 556-539 BC), attempted to elevate Sin to a supreme position within the pantheon.
Sin was the father of the sun god, Shamash (Sumerian: Utu) and, in some myths, of Ishtar (Sumerian: Inanna), goddess of Venus, and with them formed an astral triad of deities.
Threefold goddesses, appeared in many trinities outside the Olympian 12: as the Moirai (the three fates), the Graiai (the gray old women of the sea), the Erinyes (the Furies), the Harpies, the Gorgons, the Graces, the Charities, the Hesperides, the Sirens and as Hecate.
Three incarnations of Mari, or Mary, stood at the foot of Jesus's cross, like the Moerae of Greece. One was his virgin mother. The second was his "dearly beloved" Mary magdalene. The third Mary must have represented the Crone, so the resembled that of the three Norns at the foot of Odin's sacrificial tree.
Iasus signified a healer Therapeuta, as the Greeks called the Essenes, whose cult groups always included a man with the title of Christos. The literal meaning of the name was "healing moon-man," fitting the Hebrew version of Jesus as a son of Mary, the almah or "moon maiden."
The crescent became the symbol of the Byzantine Empire, supposedly because
the sudden appearance of the Moon saved the city of Byzantium (Constantinople)
from a surprise attack.
The Ottoman Turks adopted the crescent for the flags of their infantry, under Sultan Orhan (c. 1324-c. 1360). The Crescent and the star are, today, the symbols of Islam.
In medieval European heraldry the crescent was originally a mark of great honour adopted by many returned crusaders, particularly in France.