Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

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Re: Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

Post by Spiritwind »

I am posting some articles about boars in mythology because Medusa had the tusks of a boar by many accounts, or at least a mask that depicted this. The horse is right up there in importance as well, which interests me because of the two offspring that came from cutting Medusas head off. Eventually I will write a synopsis of all this massive amount of text I am posting here, but then you won't have to go look for where I found this information, if you manage to slog through it all, LOL.


The Role of the Boar in
Celtic Iconography and Myth
Coming second only to the horse, the boar occupies a prominent position in Celtic iconography, and like the horse, it is on Celtic coins that we most frequently encounter him. Yet beyond a few guesses based upon simple observations, we find little explanation of his pervasiveness.

To start our search, we will take one of the Celtic coins where not only is the boar splendidly portrayed, but we also know of its Classical prototype. This is the earliest silver coin of the Corieltauvi (Coritani) in Britain, and is derived from a Roman Republican coin of Hosidius depicting the slaying of the Calydonian boar.

It is important to realize that the Celts, while non-literate, were nevertheless familiar with Roman and Greek myths, and did discuss their own interpretations of them. The copying of a Roman coin type was not a haphazard incident and would not have been done unless it had some relevance to the Celtic ethos. Let us examine the story of the Calydonian boar:

In this myth, King Oeneus has made offerings to the Gods to thank them for a bountiful harvest, but he has omitted to include an offering for Diana. Angered by this, she has loosed a giant boar on Oeneus' land as a punishment. The boar had a breath that could set fire to leaves. It trampled the first shoots of spring, and destroyed the corn in the ear in Autumn. It attacked the flocks, and sent people scurrying for the safety of the city walls.

Oeneus' son Meleager selects a force of heroes (including many famous characters from Greek myth) to overcome the boar and win fame and glory. The warriors follow the boar's tracks into a virgin forest. The dogs are unleashed and hunting nets spread out upon the forest floor. The boar is first driven out from a marshy hollow; rushing into the midst of its foes like a bolt of lightning, it crashes loudly against the trunks of the trees, pushing some of them over. Dogs are tossed to the side by the beast's tusks, and the warriors return the attack.

Echion throws the first spear, but it misses, and scars the bark of a maple tree; Jason's spear overshoots, then Mopsus cries out a prayer to Apollo and hurls his spear. It hits the boar but fails to wound it, for Diana steals its iron tip as it flies through the air.

The boar is angered even more, blazing as fiercely as the fire of a thunderbolt, sparks flashing from its eyes, it breathes out flames from its chest and charges the band of warriors. Eupalamus and Pelagon are felled, their friends snatching them up from where they lay; Enaesimus, turns to flee, but the boar slashes the sinews behind his knees, and he crumples to the ground; Nestor uses his spear to vault into the branches of a tree, and looks down at the boar from a safe height. The boar then sharpens his tusks on the bark of an oak, before ripping open the thigh of Hippasus.

Castor and Pollux send their javelins in unison towards the boar, but it retreats into dense undergrowth. Telemon follows it eagerly, but in his haste, trips over the roots of a tree. While Peleus is helping him to his feet, Atalanta, the girl warrior from Tegea, fires an arrow at the boar that grazes the top of his back and lodges below its ear, staining the bristles with a trickle of blood. Meleager, pleased at her success, tells her that she will be honoured for her prowess. The men, shamed by this, let fly with their weapons without plan, the spears hit each other, and are ineffective. Then Ancaeus, boasting that his double axe is better than a woman's weapon, rushes for the boar, and standing poised, prepares to let the blade down on the beast. The boar, aiming his tusks at the upper part of Ancaeus' loins, gores him, and his organs slip and trail from his body in a mass of blood that stains the earth. Pirithous rushes toward the brute, but is stopped by a warning from Theseus, who launches his spear at the boar. The spear misses and lodges in an oak tree; Jason throws his javelin, but his aim is bad, and it kills one of the hounds.

Meleager looses two spears at the boar; the first misses and sticks in the ground, but the second lodges in the middle of the beast's back. The boar, writhing in fury and agony, can only wait for the fatal thrust. It slavers foam and blood, and Meleager buries his spear in its shoulder.

Meleager, who has fallen in love with Atalanta, presents her with the boar's hide and its head with the magnificent tusks. His two uncles, saying that he had no right to interfere with their honour, took the spoils from Atalanta, depriving Meleager of his right. Meleager flies into a rage, calling his uncles robbers of another man's glory, he runs his sword through the heart of the first, and then swiftly kills the second.

Meleager's mother, Althaea, had been told of her son's victory and she was on her way to the temple with offerings, when she saw the bodies of her two brothers being carried back. The sound of her grief filled the city, but when she discovered that it was Meleager that had killed her brothers, her grief turned to rage, and she plotted her revenge.

When Meleager was born, the Three Fates appeared to Althaea. Clotho said that he would have a noble spirit, Lachesis, that he would be a hero, and Atropos, that he would live as long as the log burning in the fire was not consumed by it. Althaea quickly threw water over the log and hid it away.

Now Althaea brought out the log, ordering a fire to be built. Four times she tried to throw the log on the fire, but each time she stopped herself. Her mood changed from fury to compassion and back again. Finally, her feelings for her brothers became greater than those for her son, and after a long prayer to the Furies, she cast the log into the flames. Meleager, who was not present, felt the heat of the flames and as the log was consumed by the fire, Meleager, bearing his agony with courage, regretting that his end was so inglorious, breathed his last into the thin air as the white ashes settled over the glowing embers.

There is something of a Celtic flavour to the story of Meleager: the boar is the enemy, we feel more animosity to it than we do to Diana who conjures it up. Once it has been created, it takes on a purpose of its own. Diana is easily forgotten, as if she were nothing more than an explanation that would fit the story.

To find the relevant Celtic content, we must look to the Irish myths that were part of an oral tradition reaching back into antiquity from the medieval period in which they were finally penned. In particular that of Diarmait and the Boar of Benn Gulbain:

Diarmait was reared at Brugh-na-Boyne, as foster son to Aengus, the great magician of the Tuatha de Danaan.

Diarmait's mother had another son by a different father, and this man was Aengus' steward. It had been decreed that this boy would be a play-friend and foster-brother to Diarmait. Diarmait's father was Donn, and one day he visited Aengus with a few others of the Fianna.

At the feast that evening, a fight broke out between Finn Mac Cool's hounds. In the ensuing panic, the steward's son ran between Donn's legs for protection. In a moment of hatred for the boy, who had been borne by his own wife, Donn brought his legs together and crushed the boy to death. He threw the body among the hounds, so that everyone might think that they had killed him.

Finn told the steward to check his son's injuries, and when the father saw that his son had been crushed, and guessed who was responsible, the steward insisted that he should be allowed to kill Diarmait in the same way as fitting retribution. Aengus forbad this, and the steward fetched a magic wand and struck the body of his son, and it was transformed into a cropped black boar. Before the boar rushed out, the steward laid a spell on the boar that its life span should be that of Diarmait's and that they should slay each other. To avoid this, Aengus laid a geise upon Diarmait that he should never hunt boar.

Many years passed and Diarmait grew strong and handsome. He had many adventures and became one of Finn Mac Cool's trusted heroes.

Cormac Mac Airt was the king of Erin, and his daughter Grainne was the fairest maiden in the land. After the death of his second wife, Finn Mac Cool had been persuaded to ask for Grainne's hand in marriage. Although she had never laid eyes on Finn she consented, and two weeks later, Finn and his company of chiefs and heroes journeyed to Tara to collect the bride.

At the feast at Tara, Finn Mac Cool saw that indeed, Grainne was the fairest of maidens, and he gave many glances her way. She did not return the glances because she had become enamoured with one of Finn's heroes. Asking who he was, she was told that his name was Diarmait of the Love Spot, and that all women that looked his way were likely to fall in love with him.

Rather than averting her eyes, she continued to gaze at Diarmait. After a while she called for one of her handmaids and had her bring a drinking horn from her chambers. No one noticed that there was a small amount of red liquid in the bottom of the horn. Grainne filled the horn with wine and had the drink passed to all that sat at the feast, that is, all except Diarmait, and the few friends that sat near him, including Finn's son Oisín.

When the rest of the party was asleep from drinking the drugged wine, Grainne walked over to Diarmait and sat next to him. She declared her love for him and he admitted that he had fallen in love with her as well, but he could not go away with her and violate his duty to Finn.

Grainne was not to be deterred and she laid a geise upon Diarmait that no hero could break his honour and then be saved unless he took her out of Tara before his companions awoke. He asked Oisín what he should do and Oisín replied that no man should break the bonds of a geise, but that Diarmait should beware of his father's vengeance. The rest of the party agreed, but one of them prophesied that to go with Grainne would mean death for Diarmait, and yet if he did not go he would not be worthy to have lived at all. All those that heard this prophesy, at once knew its truth.

When Finn and the others awoke in the morning, Diarmait and Grainne had gone. Finn was enraged and tried to follow, but by the cleverness and magic of Aengus, the couple always managed to escape his wrath. After numerous conflicts, an uneasy peace was negotiated by Aengus, and the couple lived happily for many years.

This is not the end of the story, Grainne and her daughter arranged a feast for Finn Mac Cool. They hoped that by inviting Finn to stay under their roof, the original friendship between Finn and Diarmait might be rekindled.

Finn accepted the invitation, and one night that he was there Diarmait heard a hound baying. He would have got up to find the dog, but it was the last night of the year, and his wife told him that it was the sound of the Tuatha de Danaan busying themselves. He heard it again, but heeded his wife's advice. At daylight he was woken again by the sound of the baying, and this time he set out, lightly armed, and with his own favourite hound. He walked until he reached the summit of Benn Gulbain.

There he came across Finn Mac Cool, and he asked him if Finn was hunting the hound as well. Finn told Diarmait that he was not, and that he and his party had followed the tracks of a wild boar. It was the Boar of Ben Gulbain, and the beast had killed fifty of his men.

The boar then came up the hill toward them, the huntsmen fleeing before it. Finn said it would be advisable for them to flee the hill, but Diarmait would not go. Finn told him of the geise that Aengus had laid upon him, and of its cause, as Diarmait was only nine months old at the time, and thus did not remember that fateful day. Diarmait refused again, saying that Finn had made this hunt and if it was here that he was fated to die, then he had no power over that.

Finn left, and Diarmait faced the boar alone. in the ensuing fight, both Diarmait and the Boar of Ben Gulbain perished.

In another version of the ending, Diarmait kills the boar, and after skinning it, Finn asks him to step on the hide and measure it out. After doing this once with no ill effect, Finn tells him to do it again. This time he is pricked by one of the boar's poisonous bristles, and near death, begs Finn to get some spring water that will cure him if he drinks it from Finn's cupped hands.

Finn avoids doing this twice by letting the water drain between his fingers, as his revenge on Diarmait, but the Fenians become furious with Finn and he acquiesces, only this time, Diarmait dies as Finn approaches him with the water.

Aengus claims Diarmait's body, saying that while he could not bring him back to life, he will take the body to Brugh-na-Boyne, and there give it a soul, so that he might converse with it daily.

Diarmait and the boar, born of the same mother, represent the forces of light and darkness. We have a clue of this with Meleager as well, in the prayer to Apollo made by Mopsus before he hurls his spear.

To return to the Corieltauvian coins in question, many varieties are known. Note that the design soon developed into one where the spear was omitted, and in its place, a wide variety of sun-symbols were substituted. The association of sun symbols and the spear on these coins is significant. The Celts adopting the Roman coin design did not do so merely because the image of a boar coincided with their own ethos, but they were also familiar with either the myth of Meleager and the Calydonian boar, or they found, in this design, a reference to a similar myth of their own. We are likely seeing here, an archetype myth of both the Celts and the Greeks and Romans.

The important difference between the stories of Meleager and Diarmait is that Meleager's life is measured by the life of a log, whereas Diarmait's life is the same as that of the boar. Although the Roman story is earlier in its written form, the Irish story has the earlier structure. The connections between the Calydonian boar and Meleager are weaker than the connections between the Boar of Benn Gulbain and Diarmait, who are half-brothers.

In abstract, we can say that the Creator makes both light and dark in equal measure. The year is thus divided into two: the dark time when the night is longer than the day, and the light time, when this is reversed.

Diarmait hears the hound baying on the last night of the year, and kills the boar on the first day of the new year. The association of boars with Samhain has lasted until recent times, but the boar has been transformed to a sow. Consider the following verse from the vale of the Dee:

A cutty black sow
On every stile,
Spinning and carding
Each November-eve.

The parallel between the sow in this verse, and the boar in the story of Diarmait is obvious. In each case, the pig is cropped and black. The stile, with its cross shape has served as an equivalent to crossroads in folk stories. Meeting a cutty black sow on a stile on this night is an earlier version of meeting the devil at the crossroads on the same night.

This argument is strengthened by looking at the evidence that the coins provide: On what Van Arsdell gives as the earliest of the Corieltauvian examples, the shaft of the spear that pierces the boar's back passes through a circle. Within the circle, and either side of the spear are two pellets. This gives the effect of a cross within a circle. This interpretation is supported by one of the fractions where, in a simplified design, a cross within a circle (or a wheel of four spokes) appears as the only element above the boar.

In the boar type of the Iceni, the Corieltauvi's neighbours to the south, the "spear" intersects with the boar's snout, and is surmounted by a pellet-within-a-circle sun symbol. The overall effect of this is like a Chi-Rho monogram with the left half of the X missing, or being suggested by the shape of the front of the boar's head.

An interesting association of a cross with a boar is provided by a coin of the Aulerci Eburovices, here, a wreath, or ear of grain pattern is intersected by a line terminating in a crescent. This pattern is seen on many Celtic coins, and may be most familiar on the Gallo-Belgic gold staters and their British derivatives. On this coin, however, the crescent is surmounted by a boar, its hind legs standing on a second crescent. At the intersection of both crescents and the boar's legs, there is a circle.

Nowhere is the association between the cross and the boar more clear than in an unattributed Armorican coin, on this coin, the figure of the boar forms the bar of a cross. We return again to Meleager's spear piercing the boar's back. If the boar is impaled thus, a cross is formed, and each limb is a season.

The cross is a universal symbol. Meanings of this symbol contain "fourness": the four seasons; winds; elements, and the cardinal points, and also by extension: the centre; the omphalos; wholeness; continuation; addition, and resurrection. It may have a variety of forms including a plus sign, an "X" or a swastika.

Being associated with the boar by its position on these coins, we can say that the cross indicates the portal between this world and the underworld, or the yearly cycles of the sun. From the myths given here, the two meanings are really the same.

The lightning and sparks of the Calydonian boar are both archetypical of dark forces. Particularly telling, is the damage that the boar does to the crops. All farmers are familiar with the "killing frost" that destroys the new shoots in the spring, and frost, as well as an early snowfall, heavy rain or hail can do the same to the crops before the harvest. If the boar is here symbolising the "dark" part of the year, unseasonable weather would be a fitting result of his inauspicious arrival.

The boar's arrival in the spring and autumn is not entirely unseasonable, but does demand a response. In the spring, the sun warms the cold ground and life begins anew, while in the autumn, the approaching cold triggers the renewal processes of the plants that go to seed or bear fruit. The forces of light and dark are not always separate, but pass their influences back and forth.

On some coins of the Coriosolites, and other Armorican tribes, we encounter a boar that has a base line that truncates the lower part of a sun-symbol. The sun symbol in this case is the very common and ancient pellet within a circle. This boar symbol has long been misinterpreted as a military standard. While such objects were undoubtedly carried into battle, we should read them more as totems. They can be viewed as a representation of the point where the sun rises to conquer the darkness. Depending on the context, the Celts could have interpreted this as a sign of the forces of light (themselves) overcoming the forces of darkness (the enemy), or as a symbol of dawn of the day or of the year. In earlier times, this would have been the winter solstice, but the symbology transversed the change of the new year to Samhain.

In the Irish story, the single creator of the boar and Diarmait is female. This suggests a pre-Iron Age origin of the myth, although most of the other instrumental characters in Diarmait's fate are male, and of definite Celtic flavour. There is Aengus and the steward, both of whom have magical powers.

In the Roman story, the creators of Meleager and the boar, while being female, are separate, the only one with magical powers is Diana. In the later classical period, she was the goddess of the hunt, entirely fitting for one who would create the boar, but her earliest form is that of the great mother goddess. The Fates, a female trinity, determine the relative life span of Meleager, and his mother determines the exact moment of his death. She offers a prayer to the Furies, another female trinity, at this time.

Other elements in the stories such as the love between Meleager and Atalanta; between Diarmait and Grainne; the jealousies of Meleager's uncles toward him, and that of Finn toward Diarmait, are typical of many ancient myths, and might have no special relevance.

The strangest parallels are between the Boar of Benn Gulbain, and the log that measures Meleager's life. The life of each being the same as that of the solar-hero in each case. The log is, of course, the Yule log of the European custom. As Sir James Frazer points out, the custom of lighting fires at the summer and winter solstices reflected the importance of the waxing and waning sun. In England, France, and Germany, the customs of the Yule log vary somewhat, but are united by certain elements. The log might be large and dense enough to smoulder for a year, in which case, if any of it remained after that period, it was ground and scattered with the ashes over the fields to promote the growth of the next season's crops. Frazer tells of the custom in one part of Germany to build the Yule log, in this case, a heavy block of oak, into the base of the hearth, where it will char, but not be consumed in the following year. In another part of Germany, he says that the log was charred and then removed from the fire and kept in the house (very close to the Roman myth). When a thunderstorm occurred, the log was placed on the fire again, to protect the house from lightning.

Frazer also lists a number of Scandinavian customs concerning the Yule boar, which has connections to cereal crops, and is often in the form of a cake of boar shape. In one example a man is dressed to symbolize a boar, and a woman pretends to sacrifice him with a knife. Frazer believes this may signify an ancient custom of boar sacrifice, and also of human sacrifice. While the former is likely, it may also be a reference to a boar versus solar-hero myth. The idea of a human sacrifice is not well-proved by this example, but there are numerous other examples of the ritual killing of kings at the end of their pre-ordained term, and this brings us yet again to the calendrical significance of the myths we have been following.

In the story of Venus and Adonis, Adonis is gored in the groin by a boar and he dies from this injury. The grief-stricken Venus decrees that each year the scene of her love's death will be staged anew. While the boar does not die at the same time as Adonis, the cycle of the year is demonstrated by Venus' decree. That Adonis is gored in the groin is significant. The boar's curved tusk is the sickle that Cronos (Father Time) used to castrate his father Uranus. Cronos is banished to the underworld by Zeus for this crime, but he will be born again to repeat the act each year and to this day in the form of the new born baby replacing Father Time and his sickle (now grown into a scythe).

Robert Graves points out the parallel of the Druidic custom of the cutting of the sacred mistletoe with a golden sickle to the castration of Uranus by Cronos. The white semen-filled berries of the mistletoe having the obvious connection, and the solar aspect being provided by the colour of the sickle. We also note that the Druid wore white robes for this ceremony, and Father Time is similarly attired.

While Father Time returns as the baby, he also returns with his scythe, but now dressed in black, as Death at the end of people's lives. While the sun returns as the same, people do not, and thus we have the human element of Diarmait that cannot be brought back to life, although his spirit, or the solar meaning of the tale will be restored by Aengus at Newgrange.

We should also remember that Odysseus bore the scar of a boar's tusk in his leg, and it was from this that he was first recognized upon his return to Ithaca. We will recall that at this time it was revealed that he had 360 boars left in his herd. Each boar thus representing one day of the year (more or less, depending on whether we are using the solar, or lunar year).

We can also go further afield and compare mythologies from other parts of the world, places that could have had no contact with Mediterranean or northern peoples. Joseph Campbell tells of the Malekulans in Melanesia, where boars are sacrificed at Megalithic shrines as a payment enabling one to enter the Otherworld at death. The association of pigs, and especially boars, with the underworld, night, and death is almost universal. As animals that root in the ground, that are often dark in colour, that have tusks shaped like the crescent moon, and that are ferocious, it would be odd for them to have any other meaning.

I have used here only those symbols that are to be found in conjunction with boars on Celtic coins. It is not a complete study, but I have tried to keep to the most dominant motifs. I have not attempted to deal with cases where other symbols are substituted for boars. Although these have the same meanings, the mythological path they take is different from that of the boar symbol, and do not relate well to the elements found in the two myths we have studied here.

It is most likely that the Roman and the Celtic myths of the boar share a mutual ancestor in Neolithic Europe. We are unlikely to ever hear the story in its original form, but we can at least understand its meaning.
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Re: Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

Post by Spiritwind »

http://thedailybeagle.net/2013/03/19/cu ... and-egypt/


In the almost collective myth of gods of rebirth being dispatched by irate gods there are two that will be focused on; the death of Osiris by his brother Seth and the death of Adonis by the jealous God Ares. These two gods of rebirth were dispatched by a wild Boar.

The strength, courage, and ferocity of the wild boar also made it a worthy adversary for hunters looking to gain prestige in the old world. In this view we see Adonis, the young champion of desire (or of an aesthetic fertility to a female orientated mystery cult from pre historic Lebanon) as a victim to a ferocious wild Boar. This image is juxtaposed by the view of the domesticated pig which is often seen as a slovenly creature. The pig today is treated with some disdain, whether seen as a manifestation of greed, filth or as culturally unclean animal, however overly broad this idea may be. The Boar in mythology, the wild boar, was a force to be reckoned with. The Boar was a fearsome quarry and sometimes a form of divine vengeance. The two examples of vengeful gods taking on the form of a wild Boar and their subsequent cultural vilification can perhaps be seen with the death of Adonis and the death of Osiris.

A vengeful God, whether it’s Ares, Artemis, Apollo or Persophene, takes the form of a Boar to dispatch the beautiful Adonis and Seth the jealous killer of Osiris takes the form of a Boar to mangle his twin brother Osiris. Adonis is killed by his lover’s jealous paramour Ares in the form of a boar. His death represented for Phoenicians and subsequently for the Greeks, the end of a seasonal cycle. The death of Adonis ties in with winter his subsequent revival with the coming of spring

Adonis, lover of the goddess Aphrodite, was warned not to hunt wild animals because they posed a dangerous threat to him. Adonis is seen as a young man and demigod trying to prove his manhood through the hunting ritual as a sort of passage of rites. Ignoring Aphrodite’s advice, Adonis meets his death whilst hunting a wild boar. In this tale, the wild boar symbolizes the death of an innocent or the loss of innocence. Others have theorized that the boar was either sent by Ares or was Ares himself, who being jealous of Adonis sent a wild boar to vicariously dispatch Adonis. Others say that it was Apollo who transformed himself into a wild boar and killed Adonis in order to avenge the blinding of his son Erymathus by Adonis’s lover Aphrodite. These alternate versions both conclude with a depiction of the wild boar as a tool of vengeance and death. In this way ancient Greeks would offer a sacrifice of wild domesticated pigs, which was seen as retribution for the killing of Adonis.

Our observations now move to Egypt, where the pig was domesticated from the Sus scrofa. Wild boars were abundant in ancient Egypt, inhabiting the ranges of the Nile Valley. The Boar and Pig have a shared ancestry, it seems that the divergence on breeds happened a long time before the domestication of the pig. The correlations between the Boar killing gods of rebirth in Egypt and north Lebanon are somewhat apparent, and yet it seems that greater cultural implications could exist beneath the surface.

It seems that there is a version of Osiris’s death in Egyptian folklore, (the popular version sees Osiris murdered by his jealous brother Set) that sees Typhon (identified with Set) turning into a wild boar after coming across Osiris’s mutilated body (an implication made by Frazer is that as a boar Typhon killed Osiris). The sacrifice of boars annually in Egypt can be identified with a ritualized revenge on the death of the beloved god Osiris. In this way a close correlation can be seen in the ritualized sacrifice of the boar in revenge for the death of a God from Egypt to Greece and Lebanon. The fact that both are Gods of rebirth, that when resurrected usher in spring, begs questions on the relation of the Boar to the period before spring. If there is any relation at all perhaps it can be seen in the ancient association of seasons with animals.

It seems in ancient Greece, the Boar hunting season began in September, and the Boar representing death ties in with the winter months in this way when Adonis is resurrected in spring it represents a profound culmination of the rebirth of a God and with this the coming of new life to world. The annual sacrifice of the Boar then takes on a dual meaning, it is revenge and the ushering in spring and the end of winter.

In Egypt the Boar according to Frazer was sacrificed to Osiris and the moon.The winter seasons are often related to the winter months when the nights are longer. With the coming of spring and the lengthening of the days, there is a transition that sacrificing Boars could represent (It can be seen that Boar’s are nocturnal creatures, adding another dimension to the winter/long night correlation). In this way a close correlation between two distinct ancient cultures can be seen. This either reinforces the idea of the spread of cultural ideas from Egypt to Lebanon or it is purely coincidental. However it would seem the evidence shows unique similarities. There are a multitude of references to communication between the two civilizations, one could perhaps allow that with this contact came an influence and the creation of a shared language. The language being one of association of natural phenomenon’s with rituals and mythical stories such as the death of Osiris and Adonis. Whilst there are many more examples of Gods of rebirth with spring, the association of the Boar in these stories remains more unique.
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Re: Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

Post by Spiritwind »

When I googled the name Anatha and Neith, here is what popped up. It just gets more and more interesting.


Anat in Egypt

Anat first appears in Egypt in the 16th dynasty (the Hyksos period) along with other northwest Semitic deities. She was especially worshiped in her aspect of a war goddess, often paired with the goddess `Ashtart. In the Contest Between Horus and Set, these two goddesses appear as daughters of Re and are given in marriage to the god Set, who had been identified with the Semitic god Hadad.

During the Hyksos period Anat had temples in the Hyksos capital of Avaris and in Beth-Shan (Palestine) as well as being worshipped in Memphis. On inscriptions from Memphis of 15th to 12th centuries BCE, Anat is called "Bin-Ptah", Daughter of Ptah. She is associated with Reshpu, (Canaanite: Resheph) in some texts and sometimes identified with the native Egyptian goddess Neith. She is sometimes called "Queen of Heaven". Her iconography varies. She is usually shown carrying one or more weapons.

The name of Anat-her, a shadowy Egyptian ruler of this time, is derived from "Anat".

In the New Kingdom Ramesses II made ‘Anat his personal guardian in battle and enlarged Anat's temple in Pi-Ramesses. Ramesses named his daughter (whom he later married) Bint-Anat 'Daughter of Anat'. His dog appears in a carving in Beit el Wali temple with the name "Anat-in-vigor" and one of his horses was named ‘Ana-herte 'Anat-is-satisfied'.

Anat in Mesopotamia

In Akkadian, the form one would expect Anat to take would be Antu, earlier Antum. This would also be the normal feminine form that would be taken by Anu, the Akkadian form of An 'Sky', the Sumerian god of heaven. Antu appears in Akkadian texts mostly as a rather colorless consort of Anu, the mother of Ishtar in the Gilgamesh story, but is also identified with the northwest Semitic goddess ‘Anat of essentially the same name. It is unknown whether this is an equation of two originally separate goddesses whose names happened to fall together or whether Anat's cult spread to Mesopotamia, where she came to be worshipped as Anu's spouse because the Mesopotamian form of her name suggested she was a counterpart to Anu.

It has also been suggested that the parallelism between the names of the Sumerian goddess, Inanna, and her West Semitic counterpart, Ishtar, continued in Canaanite tradition as Anath and Astarte, particularly in the poetry of Ugarit. The two goddesses were invariably linked in Ugaritic scripture and are also known to have formed a triad (known from sculpture) with a third goddess who was given the name/title of Qadesh (meaning "the holy one").

Anat in Israel

The goddess ‘Anat is never mentioned in Hebrew scriptures as a goddess, though her name is apparently preserved in the city names Beth Anath and Anathoth. Anathoth seems to be a plural form of the name, perhaps a shortening of bêt ‘anātôt'House of the ‘Anats', either a reference to many shrines of the goddess or a plural of intensification. The ancient hero Shamgar son of ‘Anat is mentioned in Judges 3.31;5:6 which raises the idea that this hero may have been understood as a demi-god, a mortal son of the goddess. But John Day (2000) notes that a number of Canaanites known from non-Biblical sources bore that title and theorizes that it was a military designation indicating a warrior under ‘Anat's protection. Asenath"holy to Anath" was the wife of the Hebrew patriarch Joseph.

In Elephantine (modern Aswan) in Egypt, the 5th century Elephantine papyri make mention of a goddess called Anat-Yahu (Anat-Yahweh) worshiped in the temple to Yahweh originally built by Jewish refugees from the Babylonian conquest of Judah. These suggest that "even in exile and beyond the worship of a female deity endured."[5] The texts were written by a group of Jews living at Elephantine near the Nubian border, whose religion has been described as "nearly identical to Iron Age II Judahite religion".[6] The papyri describe the Jews as worshiping Anat-Yahu (or AnatYahu). Anat-Yahu is described as either the wife[7] (or paredra, sacred consort)[8] of Yahweh or as a hypostatized aspect[9] of Yahweh.[10][11]

Anat and Athene

In a Cyprian inscription (KAI. 42) the Greek goddess Athêna Sôteira Nikê is equated with ‘Anat (who is described in the inscription as the strength of life : l‘uzza hayim).[citation needed]

Anat is also presumably the goddess whom Sanchuniathon calls Athene, a daughter of El, mother unnamed, who with Hermes (that is Thoth) counselled El on the making of a sickle and a spear of iron, presumably to use against his father Uranus. However, in the Baal cycle, that rôle is assigned to Asherah / ‘Elat and ‘Anat is there called the "Virgin."[12]

Possible late transfigurations

The goddess ‘Atah worshipped at Palmyra may possibly be in origin identical with ‘Anat. ‘Atah was combined with ‘Ashtart under the name Atar into the goddess ‘Atar‘atah known to the Hellenes as Atargatis. If this origin for ‘Atah is correct, then Atargatis is effectively a combining of ‘Ashtart and ‘Anat.

It has also been proposed that (Indo-)Iranian Anahita meaning 'immaculate' in Avestan (a 'not' + ahit 'unclean') is a variant of ‘Anat. It is however unlikely given that the Indo-Iranian roots of the term are related to the Semitic ones and although—through conflation—Aredvi Sura Anahita (so the full name) inherited much from Ishtar-Inanna, the two are considered historically distinct.

In the Book of Zohar, ‘Anat is numbered among the holiest of angelic powers under the name of Anathiel.

As a modern Hebrew first name

"Anat" (ענת) is a common female name in contemporary Israel, though many Israelis—including many of the women so named themselves—are not aware of it being the name of an ancient goddess. This name is often used by Russia-originated Israelis as a translation of the Russian name "Anastasia".

The name had not been used among Jews prior to the advent of Zionism.

According to Abraham Vered, researcher of Israeli popular culture, the popularity of the name might also derive from an attempt to emulate the (etymologically unconnected) European name "Annette".
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Re: Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

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Anat, Mother of Gods

by Jimmy Dunn writing as Taylor Ray Ellison

Much of the world's religion today originated in the regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including what is today Israel, together with its neighboring countries. In ancient times, these old states often imported and exported their gods as people migrated about, as these nations fought each other in wars, a fact that certainly had no small impact on our modern beliefs. Often, the attributes of the gods of one region were incorporated into the gods of another region. An example of this is the goddess, Anat, who was one of a number of deities imported into Egypt from the Syrian region.

The name Anat occurs in several forms in Ugaritic, Hebrew, Akkadian, and Egyptian, and as in such cases, the forms may vary widely. For example, in the Ugarit V Deity List it is spelled da-na-tu to be pronounced 'Anatu'. Otherwise in Phoenician it is `nt and is pronounced 'Anat', 'Anatu', 'Anath' or 'Anata'. The name is usually translated from Hebrew as 'Anath', but it could also be 'Anat'. The Akkadian form is usually written as 'Anta' or 'Antu'. The Egyptian forms are 'Anant', 'Anit', 'Anti', and 'Antit'. We may also find variations of her name in reference books such as Anthat.

A major goddess of fertility, sexual love, hunting and war, the Goddess Anat was known among the Canaanites in prehistoric times, and was doubtless of considerable importance in that region. From the fertile agricultural area along the eastern Mediterranean coast, her cult spread throughout the Levant by the middle of the third millennium BC. Around the beginning of the Phoenician period (circa 1200 BC) Anat enjoyed a significant cult following. She was very prominent at Ugarit, a major religious center, and appears frequently in Ugaritic literary works incorporating mythical elements, in deity and offering lists, and in votive inscriptions.

Her cult became established in Egypt by the end of the Middle Kingdom, even before the Hyksos (Asiatics probably from Syria) invasion of Egypt, so her presence certainly attests to the slow immigration (or perhaps more often, enslavement as the spoils of war) of the Hyksos prior to their ultimate rule of Egypt. However, she attained prominence, particularly in the north (the Delta) during the Second Intermediate Period rule of the Hyksos, who appear to have promoted her cult in Egypt. She was represented at Memphis like all but the most local of deities, and sanctuaries were dedicated to her at the Hyksos capital of Tanis (Egypt) and Beth-Shan (Palistine).

Yet, while the rulers of Egypt's New Kingdom took every step to denounce the Hyksos dynasty, her prestige reached its height in Egypt under Ramesses II who adopted Anat as his personal guardian in battle. Even Ramesses II's dog, shown rushing onto a vanquished Libyan in a carving in Beit el Wali temple, has the name "Anat in vigor". He also named his daughter (whom he later married) Bint-Anat, which means Daughter of Anat. He rebuilt Tanis and enlarged the sanctuary of Anat there. The Elephantine papyri dating from the late sixth century BC indicate that Anat was one of the two goddesses worshiped at the Temple of Yahu (Yahweh) by the Jews on the island of Elephantine in the Nile.

In Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine the worship of Anat persisted into Christian times (c. 200 AD), and perhaps much longer in popular religion. In Egypt traditional religion was practiced until the end of the Egyptian period (c. 400 AD). Anat may have been worshiped in one or more of the few Egyptian temples that remained open into the early 6th century AD. In contemporary times the worship of Anat has been revived in neo-pagan religion.

In Ugaritic texts she is the daughter of El, sister (though perhaps not literally) and consort of Baal. As Ba`al's companion and help-mate, She is goddess of dew and the fertility that it brings. Apparently, through the union of Anat and Baal, an offspring was born in the form of a wild bull. She may be Rachmay, one of the two nursemaids of the Gracious Gods mentioned in the eponymous ritual text. She is also the twin sister of Myrrh. At Tanis in Egypt she was regarded as the daughter of Re. In the Egyptian myth of the Contest between Horus and Seth, Anat and Astarte appear as daughters of Re and consorts of Seth (whom the Egyptians themselves identified with Baal).

From cuneiform text, Anat appears much the ruthless goddess. In her martial aspect she confines herself to slaying the enemies of Baal. She participates in the confrontation between Baal and Yam-Nahar. In a missing portion of the text she slays Yam and other enemies of Baal. During a victory celebration she departs to slaughter the warriors of two local towns. She joyfully wades in their blood, pours a peace offering and cleans up. She intercedes with El on Baal's behalf to obtain the necessary permission for a palace to be built for Baal. Later, when Baal is killed by Mot (Death) in an archetypal battle, she buries him, hunts down Mot, and takes revenge by cutting, winnowing, grinding, and burning Mot like grain. In another myth she coveted the splendid bow belonging to a youth called Aqhat. When he refuses to part with this bow, Ana sends an eagle to slay him.

Although terrible as a war deity she was regarded as a just and benevolent goddess of beauty, sexuality, and of the fertility of crops, animals, and men. Her grace and beauty were considered among the acme of perfection. Anat is a complex and somewhat paradoxical goddess as can be seen from the epithets applied to her. Although she is regarded as the mother of gods, the most common epithet at Ugarit is batulat, Virgin or Maiden. She is sometimes called Wanton, in reference to her putative lust for sexual intercourse and the bloodshed of war. Other common epithets include: Adolescent Anat, Fairest daughter-sister of Baal, Lady, Strength of Life, Anat the Destroyer, and Lady of the Mountain.

`Anat was considered by the Egyptians to be similar to Neith/Net, an ancient goddess from the Nile delta, with whom they identified Her. Neith is a skilled weaver and guardian of domestic life, as well as a goddess of war, whose symbols include crossed arrows on an animal skin or shield and a weaver's shuttle. `Anat is interpreted as being depicted with a spindle as well as Her spear, and as the Canaanites/ Phoenicians were famed for their weaving, She may well have been a patroness of that skill, perhaps also of the famed dye, later known as Tyrian purple, which could also be a blood red color. In some descriptions, `Anat adorns Herself with something translated by some as murex, the snail from which the purple dye comes.

Several epithets are known from Egyptian inscriptions. From Aramaic inscriptions of the Hyksos period (c.1700 BC): "Anat-her", Anat agrees or Agreeable Anat, and "Herit-Anta", Terror of Anat. From inscriptions at Memphis dating to the 15th to the 12th centuries BC, we find her referred to as "Bin-Ptah", Daughter of Ptah. And from Elephantine "Beth-El", House of El or House of God.

In Phoenician iconography Anat is usually depicted nude with exaggerated sexual organs and a coiffure similar to Hathor. She is sometimes depicted with bow and arrow, and with the lion, her sacred animal. Otherwise she may be armed with a spear and shield, or a spear and a spindle.

An Egyptian inscription from Beth-Shan shows "Antit" with a plumed crown (very similar to the White Crown of Egypt). In her left hand is the "Scepter of Happiness", and in her right the "Ankh of Life". Iconography at Tanis from the time of Ramesses II shows Anat on a throne with lance, battle ax, and shield above an inscription reading, "To Antit that she may give life, prosperity, and health to the Ka of Hesi-Nekht".
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Re: Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

Post by Spiritwind »

Another interesting writer on the subject. I just can't resist. Funny what you find when you just keep relentlessly googling a particular subject. We'll see if anyone is paying attention.

http://pedalseeds.net/horses-on-wings-i ... bc-2011ad/

Horses on Wings in Libya 2011BC-2011AD
This March, the US and Europe entered into the Libyan civil war. Western civilization has a long history with Libya and only a pittance is studied in classrooms today. Libya plays a stellar role in ancient mythology. Does Libya play the dark cousin to Greek and Roman philosophy?

Five thousand years ago, Libya was covered by lakes, forests, and grasslands.Now it's 90% desert with nomadic Berbers. Eastern Libya in 500 BC, with its famous 5 cities (near Benghazi), was a magnificent mecca for fine arts, learned academies and medical schools. Can we appreciate the magnificence of this civilization where we currently drop cluster bombs? During the Roman Empire, Tripoli reached a golden age about 200 AD. Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were part of a cosmopolitan state with language, Roman forums and legal courts. Libyans exported olive oil, wines, horses and ivory to European cities. Libya has been ruled by Greece, Rome, Turkey (Ottomans), and Italy. Finally in 1952, the UN declared Libya to be a sovereign nation.

According to the Pelasgians (who are early Greeks), the goddess Athena was born in the womb of Lake Tritonis in Libya. How fascinating. I found that Athena, Medusa and the magical horse Pegasus all were born in Libya. Athena was raised by three nymphs there. Tritonis means Three Queens or the Triple Goddess. Was she Libyan? According to an ancient tradition (Herod, Apollon), a nymph of Lake Tritonis in Libya and Poseidon were the parents of Athena. Later Greeks claim Athena sprung full-grown out of Zeus’ head, after Zeus swallowed Athena’s mother, Medea aka Medusa.

What about Medusa? She also lived in Libya, which in Homer’s time meant the land west of Egypt. We are taught only that she was a fearsome gorgon monster who turns men to stone. She was a power house and a ravaging beauty. Medusa means “royal female wisdom” in Sanskrit. Libyans worshiped Medusa and Athena. The earlier stories from Libya show Medusa with snakes curled around her waist, in a sacred knot. Snakes refer to healing like the spiral snakes formedicine Athena was a warrior and also a symbol of wisdom. Athena punished Medusa. Her dred locks turned to snakes, her beauty to a hideous face according to Homer. All who look at her directly turned to stone (as happened to enemies of White Witch in Narnia).

Perseus, on a quest, beheaded Medusa and bags her head as a trophy. But the myth has 2 interesting births from her beheading. First, at her death, the winged horse Pegasus is born. Second as Perseus flies over Libya, blood drips from Medusa’s severed head. Drops of blood become poisonous snakes infesting the Mediterranean coast of Libya. The horse, white with bright wings, carries off Perseus who delivers the head to Athena. Death does not defeat Medusa. She retains the power to paralyze others (stonewall them); even in death she gives birth (a horse).

Fast forward 3,000 years. In 2011, NATO has entered into the fight of a desperate dictator with Tomahawkmissiles and GPS guided bombs. Why? We are not on a humanitarian issue, there is no threat to the US. Obama says, “We are answering the calls of a threatened people” and he claims that “it’s for the good of all.”How can I believe such pig slop? It’s clearer every day that our stage entrance 6 weeks ago in Libya ago was to wage war against Muammar al Gaddafi. Gaddafi has been in office since 1969. Many Libyans want him to exit. But under what authority can NATO bomb a proud leader, a senior citizen, and the father of 8 kids. We have bombed his compound several times, and killed his grandchildren. We bombed his compound again in May 2011 with the death of his youngest childSaif al-Arab.

Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser warned against the assassination of Gaddafi. “The narrative we want to come out of this is that the Libyan people overthrew a dictator – not that the UN toppleda despot,” he told CNN.

My plea is that the US let go of bullets and bombs. I plead for respect. I plead that we stop turning our children into murderers of strange people. Can the US stop dropping blood which turns the land into a place of plague. If Libya is filled with writhing snakes, it’s the snakes of European missiles. England, Italy and France sell millions of weapons to Libya. Now we are sending troops to Libya to be killed by those exact same weapons. NATO is strapped alongside its own weapons, rather like suicide bombers.

The US and its allies are re enacting a long battle of murder. We are not under Athena’s orders to kill any monster in Libya. We have spilled blood in the dessert. Our moral compass is lost in the Libya and the Middle East. The people cry- Get NATO out of Libya. We are not rescuers in Libya. Let’s fly out of there. Let’s transform our venomous weapons into winged horses. Like Icarus NATO has too much hubris flying so close to the penetrating North African sun.
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Re: Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

Post by Spiritwind »

I know, I know, I haven't done the synopsis yet. Been kind of busy, plus I really want to post some images at the same time and can't seem to do that with my iPad. So it will be a couple more weeks yet. In the meantime I felt this one was a pretty good addition here.


The Gorgon Medusa

Guardians of Darkness
Author Unknown

[A note: the Pelasgians that originally lived in Libya or Palas Athena, and who later moved into ancient Greece as indigenous people there, were Altaic people. Excavations in Libya show this. They had some conflicts with the very first Egyptian dynasties. According to Herodotus, the pre-Greek population of the Lemnos island was Pelasgian, a non Indo-European people, and according to Thucydides they were Tyrrhenian. That word is the same word as Turanian (Altaic peoples).

Pythagoras, thousands of years later in time, was a Pelasgian and said so himself. They were described by ancient but later Greek historians as always riding on horseback and using strange, short horses (the kind used by other Altaics even today). Another ancient Greek name for them was Tyrrhenian, which is pronounced the same as the Turko-Tatar word for their own group: Turanian. These were considered the Old People or Original People there.

Later, the Achaeans moved into Greece and got along and intermixed with the Pelasgians. Ionian Artificers also came into Greece. Around 2000 BC the Dorians invaded Greece and, due to their invasion, many people left - such as the Milesian Migrations. Egyptians called the Milesians "People of the Sea." Among the Milesians were the Scota.

By the time of Plato, the society was already well into degeneration. For instance, the open pre-Socratic teachings, Eastern in tone, which were part of what is known as the Pythgorean school, were, at this time, kept secret and underground. Those that had "dark, hidden wisdom" hid from the pagans, as much as they hid from the later Christians.

The conflicts with the Spartans (same people as the Dorians) finished that civilization. It was gone. This entire history can be looked at as having taken on a cultural change with conflict in culture, but it can also be clearly seen as having different ethnic groups in conflict.

It is considered by many that the more well-known Greek myths were just the folk tales of the Pelasgian people, but blown way out of proportion and fictionalized. The original author of this piece is unknown and we can only hope it is OK to put it here for educational purposes.]

Her Name and Origin
Medusa means "sovereign female wisdom," in Sanskrit it's Medha, Greek Metis, Egyptian Met or Maat.

Medusa was actually imported into Greece from Libya where she was worshipped by the Libyan Amazons as their Serpent-Goddess. Medusa (Metis) was the destroyer aspect of the Great Triple Goddess also called Neith, Anath, Athene or Ath-enna in North Africa and Athana in 1400 c. BC Minoan Crete.

Medusa was originally an aspect of the goddess Athena from Libya where she was the Serpent-Goddess of the Libyan Amazons. In her images, her hair sometimes resembles dread locks, showing her origins in Africa. There she had a hidden, dangerous face. It was inscribed that no one could possibly lift her veil, and that to look upon her face was to glimpse ones own death as she saw your future.

Medusa as an Archetype
Medusa has historically been seen as the archetype of the nasty mother, however she is far more complex. She symbolizes the following:

Sovereign female wisdom. The female mysteries. All the forces of the primordial Great Goddess: The Cycles of Time as past, present and future. The Cycles of Nature as life, death and rebirth. She is universal Creativity and Destruction in eternal Transformation. She is the Guardian of the Thresholds and the Mediatrix between the Realms of heaven, earth and the underworld. She is Mistress of the Beasts. Latent and Active energy.

Connection to the earth. The union of heaven and earth. She destroys in order to recreate balance. She purifies.

She is the ultimate truth of reality, the wholeness beyond duality. She rips away our mortal illusions. Forbidden yet liberating wisdom. The untamable forces of nature. As a young and beautiful woman she is fertility and life. As crone she consumes by devouring all on the earth plane. Through death we must return to the source, the abyss of transformation, the timeless realm. We must yield to her and her terms of mortality. She reflects a culture in harmony with nature.

Images of Medusa
In her image alone we can find this constellation of archetypal meaning. Throughout archeological history, there have been patterns of correspondence of her image around the world as the ancients translated the powers of the natural world into an organic image that was accessible, practical, ceremonial, mystical and potent. In the beginning, her images represent a powerful natural force that is worshipped and revered by cultures as sacred and holy as she was a symbol of the full potency of the Great Triple Goddess.

In the Beginning:

Medusa's images in Old Europe begin several thousand years prior to her reinvention in classical Greek Myth. In the Upper Paleolithic, her power is represented in labyrinth, vaginal, uterine, and other female designs. Throughout the Neolithic, her forces are symbolized by the female figure positioned in holy postures and gestures of empowerment, with the presence of animals, primarily birds and snakes whom she is intimately connected with. These images appear in the Mediterranean area and continue to extend into the late Bronze Age of Minoan Crete,(1600 BC) where she is represented as the refined serpent-goddess-priestess. (modern copied image of the serpent goddess-priestess Ariadne and the original serpent-goddess-priestesses found at the Palace of Knosses in ivory and gold, and in faience)

Birds are appear on her head or shoulder, signifying her generative as well as death wielding powers of her dark, crone aspect. They also represent the heavens of the sky.

Snakes coil around her arms, legs or are entwined in her hair and are shown whispering into her ear. The serpent is a totem of the cycles of life, death and rebirth and the seasons. It is the connection to the fertile earth and to the underworld. It also symbolizes immortality as it was thought to shed its skin indefinitely.

Because of this the serpent was placed in relationship to women throughout antiquity as they correspond to the immortal properties of the blood of menstruation. Back then menstruating women were feared by men with holy dread as they inexplicably bled without wound or pain synchronized with the moon-tide cycles.

The serpent is also an emblem of the ocean as the sea was known as an earth girdling serpent. Centuries later, the myths of classical Greece cast the serpent as an evil, deceitful, revolting character associated with "witchy," (wise), women.

In 750 BC, the full-bodied image of Medusa in Greece is a central piece on their oldest surviving temple, that of Artemis, one of their oldest gods. She is the Lady of the Beasts who carries with her memories of Crete and Angolia. Like Medusa, she kills in a sacred manner so that life may continue. In this image of Medusa, snakes are tied around her waist in the sacred healing knot as they were used for medicinal purposes. She retains spiraling hair, large bird wings on her back and even on her feet that sometimes have claws. The wings symbolize her freedom and dynamic movement between the worlds. There are even surviving images of Artemis wearing the mask of Medusa, also called the mask of the Gorgon or Hecate.

The Mask:

Medusa's ancient, widely recognized symbol of female wisdom was her threatening, ceremonial mask . It has wide unblinking eyes that reflect her immense wisdom. They are all knowing, all seeing eyes that see through us, penetrating our illusions and looking into the abyss of truth. Her mouth is deathly; it looks like a skull. It is devouring of all life, returning us to the source. Sometimes she has the frightening tusks of a boar which is meant to scare men, yet these hearken back to the pig, an ancient symbol of the uterus of rebirth. Her tongue protrudes like a snake's and her face is surrounded by a halo of spiraling, serpentine hair which symbolize the great cycles and her serpent wisdom.

The mask was used to guard and protect women and the secret knowledge of the Divine Feminine. It literally warned men to "Keep Away! Female Mysteries." It was erected in stone,(corresponding to her look of stone), on caves and gateways at sacred sites dedicated to the Goddess. It also appeared on stone pillars erected in honor of her deceased lovers. Even after the degradation of Medusa Athenian culture after 7th c. BC, her mask image continued to be used until the reign of Christianity.

Her defilement began in Greece in the 7th-6th c BC, yet at this time there still exist images that revere Medusa in her full power. There was found a Cretan-like image of the Gorgon Medusa in a war chariot flanked by lions. It looks much like the Great-Mother Goddess Cybele, goddess of wild beasts and fertility of nature. At the same time there was found a relief of a woman wearing the Gorgon mask while in the menstrual/birth/erotic position, a posture of women's power in Neolithic imagery. But her face and mask continued to be used in temples and sanctuaries, and to be commonly placed on columns, doorways and gateways, signifying her role as the guardian of the thresholds and mediatrix between realms. (Medusa's face at Didyma, Temple to Apollo and a description of her image as it appears at the temple at Kalaaktepe)

Medusa in Patriarchal Greece
Patriarchy began in the bronze and iron age of first millennia Greece. In this mind the world is no longer born of a sacred mother deity but from a supreme father. Earth and heaven are split eternally. In myth heroes and gods are created to dominate and subjugate the female and natural forces over and over again in various forms, the most common of them being gigantic snakes and serpent monsters. A prime example of this is the serpent dragon called Eurinaes who is overpowered by Apollo.

The god Apollo represents the rising patriarchy and the contemporary male interests. The Eurinaes is a dynamic female force representing the old, matrifocal civilizations, and the female values that pre-date the Olympian gods. The Eurinaes is subordinated, mastered and tamed by Apollo as she is forced to leave the sanctuary so he can establish his shrine at the temple of Delphi. Through domination the hero constantly conquers the cyclical pattern of nature and tries to make it linear. He tames the wild feminine forces and makes women conform to male-servicing gender roles.

Soon the holy image of the Gorgon Medusa as an ancient symbol of female power and wisdom became totally unacceptable. By the 6th c. BC her rites were disrupted, her sanctuaries invaded, the sacred groves were cut down, her priestesses were violated and her image defiled. Her images, (as well as women), are mastered and domesticated. Her mask was used on elaborate Etruscan lantern fixtures and stoves, probably for her relation to alchemical fire. Although the mask was widely used by country-folk, her female wisdom, natural forces, powers of creativity, destruction and regeneration were demonized and made evil. She was made into a horrid, ugly monster, (most monsters were female or born of the Earth). Her most popular image became that of her defeat in the Athenian myth of Perseus.

In Archaic art the moment in the story most often depicted is the chase after the beheading, when Perseus flees with the severed head pursued by the Medusa's Gorgon sisters. In 550-450 BC, painted mainly in early and proto-attic black figure vases was the image of the hero sneaking up on his victim while she sleeps or cutting her throat while the gods look on. On these she is represented as a hideous snaky monster. (vase image of Perseus beheading Medusa while Hermes looks on and its description, also, a description of the slaying on another vase) At his time the remaining rituals of Medusa were allowed only for military function and her image was reserved for armor, on the breast plate or on their shield. (description of her image on a sacred shield)

In the course of the fifth century, she will emerge again as a beautiful woman in her maiden aspect. But when the Persians introduce the plumed serpent, her powers are transformed yet again into a dragon which is phallicly speared into its mouth, an image that is highly popular throughout the Middle Ages.

Medusa-Metis-Athene in Classical Myth
Athenian Myth fragmented and reduced the Libyan Triple Goddess Athene to Athena, Metis, Medusa and her Gorgon sisters. Gorgo, Gorgon, or Gorgopis was the `Grim Face'- and besides Medusa (Metis), was the title of Athene as Death Goddess. The eldest sister was Medusa, who represented Female Wisdom, her younger sisters were Stheno as Strength, and Euryale as Universality. All were born of Ceto and Phorcys, but Medusa was the only mortal. They were originally beautiful. Like Medusa, they had wings on their back and ankles, and wore the mask of Hecate, the mask of the Gorgon. (an image of a Gorgon sister wearing the mask while chasing Perseus after the murder)

In the 7th c. BC, Athenians recreated Athene as their patron Goddess. Through myth the Greeks severed her ancient roots in women's culture by dividing her from her dark aspect as Medusa and Metis. In the separation of Athene from Metis and Medusa, the two were overlaid; Metis became her mother and Medusa her enemy.

Her mother Metis the shape shifter was said to be the original mother as well as the wisest and greatest of all the gods. To Athenians, she was raped and swallowed by Zeus. Thus Zeus gained his power over the other gods by consuming her ancient lineage along with her immense wisdom. [He used her shape shifting ability primarily to seduce/rape females]. Metis' wisdom was so great that it impregnated Zeus' head and from it sprang the new Athena.

Betraying her ancient lineage, traitor Athena became the dutiful daughter who retained only her virginal, fertile aspect. She was the municipal goddess of Zeus' intelligence, in service of the male-solar ego, making men into heroes who dominate women and nature, and representing the patriarchal values, roles and ideals of Athens. She offers women a new blessed role; absent from the public sphere, and in the service of the male. Women are prescribed the role of virgin, wife and mother. As virgin, proof of his fatherhood is confirmed. As mother, she is the nurse of his children. And as wife she is in devoted service of her man.

In 458 BC, she blatantly rejects her mother Metis in Aeschylus' Oresteia , as she also justifies the priority of men over women; "It is my task to render final judgment here...There is no mother anywhere who gave me birth... I am always for the male with all my heart, and strongly on my father's side. So, in a case where the wife has killed her husband, lord of the house, her death shall not mean most to me."(p.161)

Yet Athena's character contains many contradictions that show the struggle of the male order to manage her potent past. One example is that her favorite animal is the owl, an ancient symbol of bird of death and regeneration, as well as female wisdom, darkness, night, the moon and mystery. However, Athena never uses the darkness to realize her self.

Athena's new enemy Medusa rivaled her in beauty and power. Even Perseus was said to have admired Medusa's beauty while she was dead, which is why he took her head with him to show the Greeks. When Medusa became a mythological monster, it was Athena herself who made Medusa ugly. According to Ovid's Metamorphosis, when Medusa was a virgin, she was raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple. Athena blamed Medusa for the sacrilegious act and punished her by changing her loveliest feature, her hair, into snakes, (at this time snakes were considered revolting). But even the monster Medusa responds to the abuse with rage- a burning charge of a fiery vitality to protect life. From then on she forever uses her powerful gaze to turn her male enemies to stone, among others, Atlas is turned into a stone mountain.

List of the polarized separation of Athena and Medusa:[1]

In the fragmentation of the Great Goddess, Medusa and Athena are separated into polarized opposites.

Medusa - Athena
feeling - thought
crazy - rational
cyclical - linear
circular - hierarchical
chaos - order
dark - light
death - life
old -'new
ugly - beautiful
mortal - immortal
slut - virgin
bestial - civilized
nature - city
earth - heaven
left - right
degraded - honored
bad - good

[Note the revolting dualism, a product of schizoid minds.]

The Myth of Medusa the Monster

In the Athenian myth of the Greek hero Perseus, Medusa's female wisdom along with the potential of women in general is silenced and the forces of nature are conquered in an ultimate act of domination and vengeance.

Perseus is sent on a quest, by King Polydictes of Seriphos and Athena herself, to retrieve the head of the Gorgon, a deed said to require the maximum of heroic-male courage and skill. He is given magic winged sandals, a cap and a pouch,(a kibisis), from Hermes. Guided by Athena the entire time, he flies over the ocean to Lake Tritonis in Libya where makes his way through rough, thick woods. On the way to Medusa's palace he sees several statues of men and beasts. There are also stone pillars erected in honor of her deceased lovers. Perseus comes upon the sleeping Gorgons. While Athena holds out a shield as a mirror, Perseus decapitates Medusa with his crescent sword,(a harpe). Enraged, the Gorgon sisters chase after him but to no avail as his cap makes him invisible.

Perseus could not have completed this task without the help of the traitor warrior goddess Athena. It is she who guides and instructs him throughout his journey and slaying. Since the myth symbolized the usurping of her powerful roots in a culture where she and Medusa were one, it is appropriate that only she would know the secrets to find and defeat Medusa. (Apollodorous' Perseus myth and Pausanias's rational version of the myth)

The Blood of Medusa:

Even in death Medusa's blood retains its powers. It gives life to Pegasus, the winged, militant steed of Zeus that creates serpents in the earth with the touch of his hoof, and who also introduced Dionysiac worship to Athens. Also Chrysaor, the golden bladed giant, is born from her bleeding neck. Medusa's blood is drained from her body and later used to raise the dead, (making Asculepeus a great healer). Used from her right vein it heals and nourishes life, from her left serpent it kills.

The snakes, her dreaded face, her look of stone, and her magical blood all correlate with the ancient menstrual taboo. Primitive folk believed that the look of a menstruating woman could turn a man to stone. Menstrual blood was also thought to be the source of all mortal life and also of death, as the two are inseparable.

The Head of Medusa:

Perseus puts Medusa's head into his pouch. He uses her head as a weapon during other exploits and when he reaches home he returns it to Athena. The head of Medusa is then wrought onto the center of Athena's aegis and Zeus' shield which is given to Athena. (description of Athena's aegis at the Parthenon) Even after her defeat, the face of Medusa forever maintains its Gorgon power to protect the Goddess from enemies by turning them to stone. It is the striking, central image on renderings of Athena. Medusa's face continues to symbolize her fierce strength in military ritual and in battle on the warrior's armor.

Encyclopedia entry of Gorgon Medusa in classical Greek literature[2]

Gorgon Medusa: - mortal daughter among immortal sisters; Stheno and Euryale. daughters of Ceto,(mother), and Phorcus, (father): (Hesiod's Theog. 275; Apollodorous. vol. 2.49; Pausanaias. 10.26.9) some say her father was Sthenelus: (Apollod. vol. 1.167), or Priam - as queen she reigned at Lake Tritonis in Libya where she hunted and led troops into battle: (Paus.) -robbed of her virginity by Poseidon: (Ovid's Metam.) -given snakes for hair by Athena: (Ovid's Metam.) -said to have rivaled Athena in beauty: (Apollod. vol. 1.161) -beheaded by Perseus: (ibid) -Gorgon sisters pursue him: (ibid) - mother of Pegasus, (a militant winged steed) and Chrysaor, (a giant with golden sword), some say with Poseidon's seed -head turns Iodama, Polydictes and others to stone: (Apollod. vol. 1.161; Paus. 9.34.2, and Aristophanes' Heracles) -head given to Athena, wrought onto Zeus' shield and her aegis: (Apollod. vol. 1.161, Paus. 5.10.4-12.4) -her blood used by Asculepeus, left of serpents to kill or of her vein on right to heal and give life, making him a great healer: (Apollod. vol. 2.17) -Medusa's hair guards Tegea against capture by enemies -gilt head of Gorgon Medusa on Acropolis wall and her appearances at other sacred sites: (Paus. Des. of Greece) -she is threatened by Heracles in Hades: (Apollod. vol. 1.235)

The Symbolism of the Myth
The mythological beheading of Medusa symbolizes the ultimate silencing of female wisdom and expression. It is the act which stops her growth, limits her potential, movement and cultural contributions. She is obliterated and her severed head is flaunted on the Acropolis and other works of art in pride of her and all women's subjugation by violent men. She is broken and her body enslaved. Her spirit, her mind, her spiritual powers are killed. Her once honored forces of female creativity and destruction are halted. Her role as dynamic mediatrix degraded. Her life-giving, death-wielding powers and wild forces of nature are controlled, tamed, and mastered by the male order. The cycles of life and nature are made to conform to his linear perspective.

The Motive Behind the Myth
The Perseus myth was invented to explain the appearance of Gorgon Medusa's face, or mask, on Athena's shield and aegis, the image of Athena that was inherited from the pre-Hellenic period. It is not surprising to learn that the earliest images of Athena had a striking resemblance to the revered Cretan serpent-goddess-priestess. Although Athena changes, in art she is consistently associated with snakes as they appear on her shoulders and on her armor, along with Medusa's face as the central image.

The Perseus myth was also an attempt to conceal Athena's roots in the Libyan Amazon Serpent-Goddess-Trinity-Athene, (a deity that was also present in Minoan Crete). In pre-Hellenic myths Athena was said to have come from the uterus of Lake Tritonis, (meaning Three Queens), the same place that Medusa is said to have ruled, hunted and led troops in Athenian myth. The older myths are more specific, they say that Athene was born of the Three Queens of Libya themselves, the Triple Goddess, with Metis-Medusa as her destroyer aspect.

Barbara Walker: The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, and The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects

Marija Gimbutas: The Civilization of the Goddess

A special thanks to Joan Marler's Celebrating the Gorgon slide lecture and workshop at Interface, in Cambridge MA, March of 1996.

Here is an image of Medusa. She was beautiful.

The story of Medusa, the real history of her, presents a very sad story and elicits grief: grief for so much that was lost.

The article is said to have appeared on http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/classes/finALp.html
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Re: Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

Post by Spiritwind »

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 141627.htm
An international team of archaeologists has uncovered the earliest known evidence of horses being domesticated by humans. The discovery suggests that horses were both ridden and milked. The findings could point to the very beginnings of horse domestication and the origins of the horse breeds we know today. Led by the Universities of Exeter and Bristol (UK), the research is published on Friday 6 March 2009 in journal Science.

The researchers have traced the origins of horse domestication back to the Botai Culture of Kazakhstan circa 5,500 years ago. This is about 1,000 years earlier than thought and about 2,000 years earlier than domestic horses are known to have been in Europe. Their findings strongly suggest that horses were originally domesticated, not just for riding, but also to provide food, including milk.

Through extensive archaeological fieldwork and subsequent analysis, using new techniques, the team developed three independent lines of evidence for early horse domestication. Their findings show that in the fourth millennium BC horses in Kazakhstan were being selectively bred for domestic use. They also show horses were being harnessed, possibly for riding, and that people were consuming horse milk.

Analysis of ancient bone remains showed that the horses were similar in shape to Bronze Age domestic horses and different from wild horses from the same region. This suggests that people were selecting wild horses for their physical attributes, which were then exaggerated through breeding.

The team used a new technique to search for 'bit damage' caused by horses being harnessed or bridled. The results showed that horses had indeed been harnessed, suggesting they could have been ridden.

Using a novel method of lipid residue analysis, the researchers also analysed Botai pottery and found traces of fats from horse milk. Mare's milk is still drunk in Kazakhstan, a country in which horse traditions run deep, and is usually fermented into a slightly alcoholic drink called 'koumiss'. While it was known that koumiss had been produced for centuries, this study shows the practice dates back to the very earliest horse herders.

Lead author Dr Alan Outram of the University of Exeter said: "The domestication of horses is known to have had immense social and economic significance, advancing communications, transport, food production and warfare. Our findings indicate that horses were being domesticated about 1,000 years earlier than previously thought. This is significant because it changes our understanding of how these early societies developed."

The steppe zones, east of the Ural Mountains in Northern Kazakhstan, are known to have been a prime habitat for wild horses thousands of years ago. They were a commonly hunted animal. This may have set the stage for horse domestication by providing indigenous cultures with access to plentiful wild herds and the opportunity to gain an intimate knowledge of equine behaviour. Horses appear to have been domesticated in preference to adopting a herding economy based upon domestic cattle, sheep and goats. Horses have the advantage of being adapted to severe winters and they are able to graze year round, even through snow. Cattle, sheep and goats need to be to be provided with winter fodder, and were a later addition to the prehistoric economies of the region.

This study was carried out by the Universities of Exeter, Bristol and Winchester (UK), Carnegie Museum of Natural History (Pittsburgh, USA), and Kokshetau University (Kazakhstan) and was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, British Academy and National Science Foundation of America.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

Outram et al. The Earliest Horse Harnessing and Milking. Science, 2009; 323 (5919): 1332 DOI: 10.1126/science.1168594
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Re: Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

Post by Spiritwind »

So, I was checking to see who El might have been. Thought this provided some interesting clues. Funny how the farther back you go certain names keep popping up and things seem to intertwine.

Bible Study Resource

Canaanite gods & goddesses

The Canaanites believed the earth was ruled by forces and spirits (gods and goddesses) who were both

patrons of particular places they had created and governed

forces with specific functions and authority.

We know this from discoveries at the ancient site of the city of Ugarit: the mysterious, violent epics of

the male force Baal, who impregnated the earth through his semen/rain, and

Anat, fierce protectress of the family.

There were also stories of Dan'el and Aqhat, and the story of Keret, all dating from the 15th and 14th centuries BC.

Although later on, when the Canaanites were beginning to amalgamate politically with the invading Hebrews and Philistines and their beliefs were being attacked and/or watered down, Canaanite religion lingered on. The old myths and the poetry in which they were expressed appealed to many of the Israelites who had settled down to farming and needed a belief system that addressed their daily lives.

A comparison of ancient Canaanite epics, later Phoenician inscriptions and other archaeological finds shows that the Canaanite deities recorded in the Bible (eg Baal and Asherah) belong to the same family as the divinities of the Phoenician cities of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos and Ugarit.

The most important among the goddesses and gods were the following:

The Lady Asherah, consort of El-Dagon, mother of gods

She was the supreme mother goddess. She was also "Athirat-Yam", Asherah of the Sea, the goddess of the sea and fishermen, and supreme goddess in Tyre and Sidon. Asherah gave life to everything, good and bad alike. As the mother of the gods, she assigned responsibilities to each one according to his (or her) character.Below are some of the plaques and figurines dedicated to her by her followers are shown below.

There is a variety of styles for these plaques. Often the goddess has the two long "S" shaped ringlets which were the emblem of the great Egyptian goddess Hathor. Sometimes she wears the cylindrical crown of the goddesses and queens of Late Bronze Age Syria or, occasionally, an ordinary woman's headdress. Often the plaque is decorated with flowers, sometimes a flower and a serpent.

An Egyptian carving (see right) dating from the New Kingdom (1150-1090 BC) is a more artistic picture of Asherah, showing her standing on the back of a lion, holding what seems to be a bunch of lotus flowers, and a serpent. The flowers she offers with her right hand to the Egyptian fertility god, Min. Her left hand (the unfavourable one) offers the serpent to Reshef, who was associated with the idea of death.

The inscription reads: "Qdesh, lady of heaven and mistress of all gods." This symbolism is echoed in the Bible. Jeremiah (44:17) reproached Hebrew women for worshipping Asherah as the "Queen of Heaven".

Ishtar (Ashtoreth or, in Greek, Astarte) seems a strange combination, but essentially she embodied two particularly female qualities

She produced children

And she fiercely protected her family against danger from outside

With the spread of Mesopotamian influence during the Assyrian and Babylonian empires, Ishtar became known throughout Syria and, later, Israel. She is represented as mounted on a lioness, armed with a sword and wearing a fluted crown surmounted by an astral disc identifying her with the planet Venus.

By that time the cult of Ishtar had spread along the coast of Phoenicia and throughout Canaan, obliterating the memory of the ancient Canaanite Asherah. Figurines of the mother-goddess, sometimes traditional, sometimes Phoenician, sometimes Hellenistic, continued to be made. Ishtar's name appears more than forty times in Phoenician and later Punic inscriptions, many of them found on tombstones. The practice of sacred prostitution as a magical means of ensuring fertility (for people, their flocks and crops) was especially associated with Astarte.

El, Supreme Father God

The 'creator of creatures' and supreme father is also "Kindly El, Benign", the "King" and, sometimes "Bull El, my Father". "El" is the Semitic word for God; it appears, for example, in the biblical El and Elohim.

In the epic tales, El is described as living in a remote dwelling 'a thousand plains, ten thousand fields' from Canaan at the 'source of the rivers of the Floods', in the midst of the 'headwaters of the Two Deeps'. When the gods wanted to consult him, they had to travel to this remote paradise. In the same way, the Babylonian hero, Utnapishtim, was translated into an immortal existence at the 'source of the two rivers' and in Genesis the Garden of Eden is placed at the source of the four great rivers.

Another of El's titles was "Father of Years" which made him the god of time.

This mottled stone from Ugarit (above) shows a god with a flowing beard seated on an elaborate lion-footed throne, his feet resting on a footstool and wearing a tiara, tunic and mantle. A king or priest is presenting an offering which is welcomed. It is believed that this figure represents a 'supreme father'.

The characteristics ascribed to El made him seem too remote for simple people, although like the other gods he occasionally stepped down from his heavenly eminence and played the hero in some remarkably earthy myths. Nevertheless, interest in him began to wane and the popular cult attached itself to his more adventurous, interesting children.

The Baaal and Anat cycle

Baal had different names in different places. He was Ba'al-Hazor, Ba'al-Peor, Ba'al Hermon, etc. He also had different attributes—the Ba'al-Berith of Shechem, or Ba'al Zebub, or Ba'al Zebul. These names referred to a single supreme god, the personification of life-giving forces in Nature.

In Northern Syria, Anat was thought to be his wife, although later on in Palestine the goddess Ashtoreth (Ishtar) became his wife.
Even in the epics, 'Anat sometimes appears as both sister and wife. Elsewhere she is a devoted sister and a valiant warrior maiden.

One of the Baal epics from Ugarit describes how he is killed by Asherah (the early mother goddess) and a group of monsters she has borne. Baal's friends mourn for him but his sister is not only grief-stricken but also determined on revenge. She had a single-hearted devotion to her brother: "Like the heart of a cow for her calf; Like the heart of an ewe for her lamb, So is the heart of 'Anat for Baal."

However, more typical of Anat as she appears in the myths is the Egyptian stele (below right) which stresses her cruel, revengeful nature.

She loved war. There is another story in the Ba'al cycle telling how, in her thirst for blood, she "smote and slew from seacoast (to the west, meaning sunset) to sunrise" in a night of general massacre.

She filled her temple with men and barred the doors. Hurling heavy tables and furniture at them, she waded in blood up to her knees, even to her neck. "Her liver swelled with laughter; her heart was full of joy."

In the Bible, her name appears only in occasional lists of temples or places. The goddess herself is not mentioned. By the time the biblical books were cast in their final form, she had been forgotten. Some scholars believe that her place had been taken by the female warrior, Ishtar.
Nature Explained through Myth

The workings of the forces of nature were explained by means of myths and legends about the gods. Besides the great central epic of the seasons, there were stories about

the god of pestilence and Lord of the Underworld, Reshef, represented as an angry warrior, heavily armed and wearing contemporary Asiatic costume; see the stone relief at right, where Reshef has the face and bared teeth of a skull

Shulman or Shalim, the god of health

and Kothar, god of arts and crafts.

Ba'al: The dominant figure among the Canaanite gods was the great storm-god Ba'al. His name means "master" or "lord", so the same title could be applied to many different gods and a variety of personalities. Ba'al was the son of El, the supreme Canaanite god. Later on, the son consigned his father to oblivion and Ba'al became the name of the principal god of the sky, the earth and its fertility, akin to Bel of the Babylonians.

Mot: According to the epics, control of Sheol (the underworld) was taken over by Ba'al's brother Mot (death) while a series of other myths presents Ba'al as one of the gods of creation, as when he kills the sea dragon Yam (which means "sea" in Hebrew).

The most likely representation we have of the rain-god Ba'al is a stele found in Ugarit showing a god bestriding the mountains with a club in one hand and a shaft of lightning in the other (see above). References in the epics to Ba'al as god of the storm, who spoke in the thunder and whose voice resounded through heaven and earth, seem to fit in very well with this "Ba'al of the Lightning".

Death and Return to Life

The most striking of the Ugarit poems is the epic of Ba'al's death and revival. It provides the mythical explanation for the annual cycle of death and resurrection in the seasons. It is suggested that the myth was re-enacted in mimetic ritual so that the forces of nature might be reactivated and fertility of soil, beast and man be ensured.

In Canaan and the Eastern Mediterranean, the summers are hot and rainless, and all the rain falls in the winter, usually during and after violent storms and cloudbursts. Ba'al was the vividness of all vegetation. Different epics tell how after a long war against his brother Mot, Ugaritic god of the rainless season, associated with the underworld, Ba'al was killed. With his death, all growth ceased and life languished.

Ba'al's sister, the "maiden 'Anat" came to the rescue and killed Mot, "With sword she doth cleave him, with fan she doth winnow him, With the fire she doth burn him, with handmill she grinds him. In the field she doth scatter his seed". 'Anat carried Ba'al's body to a sacred mountain top. There she performed an elaborate sacrifice and brought Ba'al back to life as god of grain.

The cycle of life and growth could begin again. In the words of the Ugarit epic, "the heavens fat did rain, the wadis flow with honey".
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Re: Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

Post by Spiritwind »

I decided to post this here rather than start a new thread because you really have to click on the link and check out her headdress. I can't post pictures until I get a new laptop in a couple more weeks, but check out all the snakes on it. Fascinating. Plus the whole incest/brother sister thing to maintain the bloodline.

(Post edit: argh, the image didn't show up when I clicked the link below but it did here - http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient- ... mun-001555 - which is all very irritating because the original image was big and very clear and easy to see, so I will add the picture later when I can) - edit to the edit, it may or may not show up on the below link, LOL

The Tragedy of Queen Ankhesenamun, Sister and Wife of Tutankhamun

http://humansarefree.com/2015/07/the-tr ... .html#more

Everyone has heard of the famous boy king, Tutankhamun, but the name of his beloved sister and wife Ankhesenamun is rarely uttered.

The tragic life of Ankhesenamun was well documented in the ancient reliefs and paintings of the reign of her parents, the pharaoh Akhenaten and his great royal wife Nefertiti, until the death of Tutankhamun when the young queen seems to have disappeared from the historical records.

Ankhesenamun ("Her Life is of Amun") was a queen of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. She was the third of six known daughters, and became the great royal wife of her half-brother Tutankhamun when he was just 8 to 10 years old and she was 13.

It is possible that she was briefly married to Tutankhamun's successor, Ay, believed by some to be her maternal grandfather. It has also been posited that she may have first been the wife of her father, Akhenaten.

Marriage within family was not uncommon in ancient Egypt and was practiced among royalty as a means of perpetuating the royal lineage.

In fact, Tutankhamun’s parents had also been brother and sister, resulting in some of the genetic conditions that the boy king suffered, including a cleft palate and club foot. The pharaohs believed they were descended from the gods and incest was seen as acceptable so as to retain the sacred bloodline.

Ankhesenamun was born in a time when Egypt was in the midst of an unprecedented religious revolution (c. 1348 BC). Her father had abandoned the old deities of Egypt in favour of the one ‘true’ god of Aten (the Sun disc), thereby creating the first monotheistic religion.

His revolutionary actions weren’t taken easily by the priesthood and the Egyptians followers of Ra. It was difficult for such a traditional culture to reject their old gods, and the priesthood—which held a great deal of power—put up a fierce resistance.

Ankhesenamun had two older sisters – Meritaten, Meketaten – and together, the three of them became the "Senior Princesses" and participated in many functions of the government and religion.

Various reliefs found in Egypt appear to suggest that Akhenaten may have attempted to father children with all three of his eldest daughters, the second of whom seems to have died during child birth (this scene is depicted inside a royal tomb).

After the death of her father, Akhenaten, and following the short reigns of his successors, Smenkhkare and Neferneferuaten, Ankhesenamun became the wife of Tutankhamun. Following their marriage, the couple were quick to restore the old religion, disregarding Akhenaten’s actions.

Although both Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun were still children, together they ruled Egypt for the next ten years.

During their reign, history shows that Tutankhamun had an official adviser named Ay who most likely was the grandfather of Ankhesenamun, and who probably played an influential role in the lives and decisions of the young couple.

During their reign, it is believed that Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun conceived two children (both girls) who were born prematurely and died. Evidence comes from the mummified remains of two babies found in Tutankhamun’s tomb and DNA analysis confirmed that they were daughters of Tutankhamun.

One of the children is known to have had a condition called Spengel’s deformity in conjunction with spina bifida and scoliosis.

At about the age of eighteen or nineteen, Tutankhamun died suddenly, leaving Ankhesenamun alone without an heir in her early twenties. The grieving queen would have to continue in her official capacity as queen of Egypt and play a major role in finding a successor.

An inscribed ring and gold foil fragments found in the Valley of the Kings depict Ankhesenamen together with her husband’s successor, Ay, but there is no clear indication that they were married.

Her name never appeared within his tomb and it is believed that she may have died during or shortly after Ay’s reign, as she disappears from history shortly after his period.

It is not known where she was buried, and no funerary objects with her name are known to exist. This leaves the possibility that her tomb is still somewhere out there, waiting to be discovered. This may help to unravel the final fate of Ankhesenamun.

Featured image: A gold plate found in Tutankhamun’s tomb depicting Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamen together.

By April Holloway, Ancient Origins

This article is published with the permission of Ancient-Origins.net, which releases the most up to date news and articles relating to ancient human origins, archaeology, anthropology, lost civilizations, scientific mysteries, sacred writings, ancient places and more. If you appreciated this article, please consider a digital subscription.
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Re: Who really was Medusa, The Gorgons and the Amazon Women

Post by Spiritwind »

I know I haven't kept up with this thread as of late. Been busy going in several different directions at the same time. I did extract what I thought was important in the first six articles as sort of a recap, so will go ahead and post that, along with some images now that I can post them as well.

Medusa synopsis

First article:
First and foremost, Medusa was a Sun Goddess and representative of women's genital mysteries. Snakes are generally connected to the Sun in mythology; obviously as in Egypt, or more subtly as the guardian of the solar apples of the Hesperides. Just as Athena would later, Medusa ruled the ocean, ships, and all the skills and arts dealing with them. Her petrifying gaze was the contradictory Sun and the keen vision of the ship's pilot. The snakes standing erect over her forehead are often her favoured blue cobras, looking like the headdress later worn by Bast, or like dreadlocked hair.

The Gorgons were not the only North African Amazons. Their sister tribe was the Tritoni, long ago forced onto the mainland by the loss of their island off the west coast of North Africa in a volcanic explosion. It was the Tritoni who worshipped a Goddess of Moon and Sea, called Sipylene. Eventually the two tribes united, to the complete bewilderment of Greek storytellers, who were already lost in thealogical mazes.

Second article:
Medusa’s origins lie in North Africa where She represented one third of the Triple Moon Goddess. In pre-Dynastic Egypt She was known as Neith and in Libya, Medusa’s homeland, the Triple Moon Goddess was called Anatha.

Anatha, and Neith before Her, was said to have risen from the primeval floodwaters. More specifically in Libya the birth place of the Triple Moon Goddess was Lake Tritonis, the Lake of the Triple Queens.

Ancient inscriptions about the North African Moon Goddess describe Her as: “I have come from Myself. I am all that has been and that will be, and no mortal has yet been able to lift the veil that covers me.” She was synonymous with Mother Death for to see Her face meant to have died.

The Libyan Triple Goddess Anatha had three aspects: Athena, the Maiden, Metis, the Mother, and Medusa, the Crone.

Anatha’s Maiden aspect Athena was the Goddess of the waxing crescent moon. Like Her Amazon priestesses She wore a goatskin chastity tunic, which was the original aegis that would later be adopted by the Olympian Greeks for their version of Athena. The original African Athena represented independence, youthful exuberance and growth, Her particular attributes being strength, courage and valour.

Metis was the Mother aspect of the Triple Moon Goddess. She, too, would later be adopted into the Classical Greek pantheon as the mother of Athena who was swallowed whole by Zeus while She was pregnant with Her daughter. Like all Full Moon Goddesses Metis was originally associated with fertility and motherhood.

Medusa, the Crone or Dark Moon aspect of Anatha, was the most powerful of the three.

Medusa’s face was once synomymous with divine female wisdom. In ancient Libya She was linked to divination, healing, magic and the sexual serpent mysteries associated with death and renewal. To invoke Her wisdom Her priestesses would wear Medusa’s mask and celebrate the sexual rites with the representatives of the sea gods.

Anatha and Her three faces / aspects was the Moon Goddess of the matrilineal Goddess-worshiping Libyans. To the patriarchal Greek invaders She became the representative of Her Amazon daughters. As always much historical truth has been hidden in the Classical Greek myths surrounding Athena, Metis and Medusa. While Metis was swallowed whole by Zeus, the father of the Hellenes, thus passing on Her daughter and Her wisdom, Athena and Medusa were irreversably split and made into enemies. Athena would become another token female of the Greek pantheon and would eventually be forced to betray Her own crone self and become a traitor to Her sisters. Medusa, on the other hand, would be turned into a nasty fearsome monster that would eventually be slayed and have Her power stolen off Her to be used by Her murderers.

Robert Gray suggests that this part of the story is likely based on actual historical events. About 1290 BCE King Perseus, the founder of the new Hellenic dynasty in Mycenae, sent out his patriarchal solar warriors to invade North Africa, conquer the women-led tribes who lived there and overthrow their Moon Goddess in favour of their own male divinities. The mythical beheading of Medusa, the wise crone aspect of the Amazonian Triple Moon Goddess, represents the actual invasion of the Goddess’s chief shrines, the desecration of Her priestesses’ Gorgon masks with their contained wisdom and the kidnapping of Her sacred horse.

Third article:
They've been excavating Scythian kurgans, which are the burial mounds of these nomadic peoples. They all had horse-centred lifestyles, ranging across vast distances from the Black Sea all the way to Mongolia. They lived in small tribes, so it makes sense that everyone in the tribe is a stakeholder. They all have to contribute to defense and to war efforts and hunting. They all have to be able to defend themselves.

Archaeologists have found skeletons buried with bows and arrows and quivers and spears and horses. At first they assumed that anyone buried with weapons in that region must have been a male warrior. But with the advent of DNA testing and other bioarchaeological scientific analysis, they've found that about one-third of all Scythian women are buried with weapons and have war injuries just like the men. The women were also buried with knives and daggers and tools. So burial with masculine-seeming grave goods is no longer taken as an indicator of a male warrior. It's overwhelming proof that there were women answering to the description of the ancient Amazons.

Herodotus gives us a very good picture. He says that they gathered a flower or leaves or seeds—he wasn't absolutely sure—and sat around a campfire and threw these plants onto the fire. They became intoxicated from the smoke and then would get up and dance and shout and yell with joy. It's pretty certain he was talking about hemp, because he actually does call it cannabis. He just wasn't certain whether it was the leaves or the flower or the bud. But we know they used intoxicants. Archaeologists are finding proof of this in the graves. Every Scythian man and woman was buried with a hemp-smoking kit, including a little charcoal brazier.

Herodotus also described a technique in which they would build a sauna-type arrangement of felt tents, probably in wintertime on the steppes. He describes it as like a tepee with a felt or leather canopy. They would take the hemp-smoking equipment inside the tent and get high. They've found the makings of those tents in many Scythian graves. They've also found the remains of kumis, the fermented mare's milk. I give a recipe in the book for a freezing technique they used to raise its potency.

The Greeks credited three different warrior women with the invention of trousers. Medea, a mythical sorceress and princess from the Caucasus region, was credited with inventing the outfit that was taken up by Scythians and Persians. The other two were Queen Semiramis, a legendary Assyrian figure, and Queen Rhodogune, which means "woman in red." The Greeks were not that far off. Trousers were invented by the people who first rode horses—and those were people from the steppes.

There was even an Amazon island, wasn't there?
Yes. It's the only island off the southern coast of the Black Sea. It's now called Giresun Island. But it was first written about in Apollonius of Rhodes's version of the epic poem The Argonauts. As Jason and the Argonauts are sailing east on the Black Sea, they stop at what they call Island of Ares or Amazon Island. There they see the ruins of a temple and an altar, where they claim the Amazons sacrificed horses and worshipped before they went to war.

This is really interesting, because it means the Greeks were finding ruins associated with Amazons as far back as the Bronze Age. It shows how real the Amazons were to them. Recently, Turkish archaeologists found the altar and temple ruins that are mentioned in Jason and the Argonauts.

Fourth article:
Neith emerged from the primeval floodwaters, and her name means “I have come from myself.” The inscription on her temple at Sais reads, “I am all that has been, that will be, and no mortal has yet been able to lift the veil that covers me.” Neith represented Mother Death, and to see her face behind the veil was to have died.

In Libya, Neith, known as Anatha, was said to have arisen out of Lake Tritonis, the Lake of the Triple Queens. She displayed her triple nature as Athena, Metis and Medusa, who corresponded to the new, full, and dark phases of the moon. Athena was the new moon warrior maiden who inspired the Amazon tribes of women to courage, strength, and valor. The Sea Goddess Metis, whose name means “wise counsel,” was the full moon mother aspect of this trinity who, in later mythical tales, conceived Athena from Zeus. Medusa embodied the third, dark aspect as destroyer/crone, and she was revered as the Queen of the Libyan Amazons, the Serpent Goddess of female wisdom.

In Theogeny Hesiod gives the following account of Medusa’s origins. Medusa was one of the three Gorgon sisters, who were born from the ancient sea deities Phorcys and Keto. Two sisters were both immortal and ageless: Stheno, “Mighty One,” and Euryale, “Wandering One.” Medusa, “Cunning One” or “Queen,” was the only mortal. They lived on the road to the golden apple trees of the Hesperides at the far western edge of the world on the ocean’s edge near the borders of night and death.

According to the classical texts the three Gorgon sisters were originally beautiful golden sea goddesses. The lovely maiden Medusa was pursued by many suitors, but she would have none of them until she lay with the dark-haired Sea God Poseidon, earlier known asHippios the horse deity, in the soft grass under the spring blossoms. Poseidon, in the shape of a horse, seduced Medusa. After Medusa made love with Poseidon in one of Athena’s sanctuaries and became pregnant with twins, she incurred the wrath of Athena. Some say that Athena’s anger was due to Medusa daring to compare her beauty to that of Athena. Athena may have resented Medusa’s sexual encounter because she had renounced her own sexuality in order to maintain her exalted position on Olympus. Furthermore, Poseidon was Athena’s longtime bitter rival, who contested her rulership of Athens.

The tale of Perseus’s slaying of Medusa is on of the most ancient of all the Greek myths. The classical version may actually be based on a far older myth, preserved by local folk tradition, which extend back to the Mycenaean Period of the second millennium BCE. It was later overlaid with heroic elements that were so popular among the Greeks of the historic age. Graves feels that this story portrayed actual events during the reign of the historical King Perseus (ca. 1290 BCE), founder of the new dynasty in Mycenae. During this period the powers of the early moon goddesseses in North Africa were usurped by patriarchal-dominated invaders of mainland Greece. The legend of Perseusbeheading Medusa means that the Hellenes overran the Goddess’s chief shrines, stripped her priestesses of their Gorgon masks, and took possession of the sacred horse. This historical rupture and sociological trauma registered itself in the following myth.

Polydectes’ plan was to raise a tax of horses from the islanders (according to another version these horses were intended as a bride gift he meant to offer for the hand of Hippodameia). Because Perseus was poor, there was no way for him to obtain a horse; and he was tricked into pledging that he would bring the king the head of the Gorgon with its deadly power. The oldest narratives of the myth of Medusa relate that she was a mare whom Poseidon had mated while in the form of a stallion. Thus Perseus was promising the king the head of a most terrifying horse.

Athena later gave to phials of Medusa’s blood to Asklepius, the God of Healing. It was said that blood from her right vein could cure and restore life, and that the blood from her left vein could slay and kill instantly. Others say that Athena and Asklepius divided the blood between them; he sued it to save lives, but she to destroy and instigate wars. In some traditions it was Athena’s serpent son Erichthonius to whom she gave the blood to either kill or cure, and she fastened the phials to his body with golden bands. Athena’s dispensation of the Gorgon blood to Asklepius and Erichthonius suggests the curative rites used in this cult were a secret guarded by priestesses, which it was death to investigate. The Gorgon’s Head was a formal warning to priers to stay away.

The infamous Gorgon masks were called gorgoneions. They portrayed a face with glaring eyes, bared fanged teeth, and protruding tongue, similar to many images of Kali. They were worn by priestesses in moon-worshipping rituals, both to frighten away strangers and to evoke the Goddess herself. The purpose of the mask was to protect the secrecy required for the magickal work associated with the third or dark triad of the Triple Moon Goddess. It served to warn people against intruding upon the divine mysteries hidden behind it.

These ceremonies included divination, healing, magic, and the sexual serpent mysteries associated with death and rebirth. The female face, represented by Medusa, surrounded by serpent hair was a widely recognized symbol of divine female wisdom. The EphasusGorgons with four wings each almost duplicate the flying Gorgons at Delphi, the temple of the world’s greatest oracular priestesses. The venom from the bite of certain snakes induced the hallucinatory state in which the oracular vision was revealed.

The Gorgon face, often red in color, held the secrets of the menstrual wise blood that gave women their divine healing powers. Certain primitive tribes believed that the look of a menstruating woman could turn a man to stone, which links Medusa with the menstrual blood mysteries. The blood that Persues took from Medusa could both heal and kill; it may originally have been her menstrual blood rather than blood from the wound in her neck.

An early representation of Medusa, dating from the seventh century BCE in Boeotia, shows her as a small, slender mare-woman who, although masked with a Gorgon’s Head, shows none of the frightful aspects of the classical Gorgon. By associating the Gorgon mask with the slender equine form, this artist permits us to catch a brief glimpse of a far more ancient tradition, in which the dark sister was not an isolated object of fear. The Gorgon mask, as the face of the moon, suggests that Medusa was one of the three aspects of the pre-Hellenic Moon Goddess, and the small native horses of these indigenous peoples were sacred to the early moon cults in rainmaking ceremonies. Poseidon’s rape of Medusa in the form of a stallion tells the story of hwo the first wave of invading Hellenes from Greece, who rode large vigorous horses, forcibly married the Amazon moon priestesses and took over the rainmaking rites of the sacred horse cult through the birth of Pegasus.

This is one variation of many similar stories that appear all over the Mediterranean Crescent around this time, describing the transition from the reign of the goddesses to that of the gods. The supremacy of the Great Goddess who took the young God as her Consort/lover was overturned and the God matures and then usurps her power by forcibly raping, marrying and subjugating her and by suppressing her worship. Poseidon’s soldiers likewise raped the Amazon priestesses, and they ignored the injunction of the aegis and Gorgon mask to stay away unless invited. The Gorgon mask then turned into the portrait of horror, fear, and rage frozen on the faces of these warrior women resulting from their forceful violation.

Buffie Johnson explains that hair stands for energy and fertility. On the head hair signifies higher spiritual forces, and below the waist it indicates the fertilizing forces. When snakes replace the hair as they replace the Gorgon’s tresses, they represent the higher forces of creation.

Fifth article:
This one really shows the whole strong association with serpents and snakes of the story, especially in regards to parental figures.

Sixth article:
Robert Graves (Greek Myths, 1958) believes that the myth of Perseus preserves the memory of the conflicts which occurred between men and women in the transition from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. In fact the function of the Gorgon's mask was to keep men at a safe distance from the sacred ceremonies and mysteries reserved for women, i.e. those which celebrated the Triple Goddess, the Moon. Graves reminds us that the Orphic poems referred to the full moon as the 'Gorgon's head'. The mask was also worn by young maidens to ward off male lust. The episode of Perseus' victory over Medusa represents the end of female ascendancy and the taking over of the temples by men, who had become the masters of the divine which Medusa's head had concealed from them.
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....

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