Tammuz (Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”) was the name of a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, also worshiped in the later Mesopotamian states. Recent discoveries reconfirm him as an annual life-death-rebirth deity: tablets discovered in 1963 show that Dumuzi was in fact consigned to the Underworld himself, in order to secure Inanna’s release, though the recovered final line reveals that he is to revive for six months of each year.
In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar.
The Levantine Adonis (“lord”), who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, was considered by Joseph Campbell among others to be another counterpart of Tammuz, son and consort. The dying of Adonis was fully developed in the circle of young girls around the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, about 600 BC, as revealed in a fragment of Sappho’s surviving poetry.
Modern scholarship often describes him as an annually-renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity whose nature is tied to the calendar. Syrian Adonis is Gauas or Aos, akin to Egyptian Osiris, the Semitic Tammuz and Baal Hadad, the Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis, all of whom are deities of rebirth and vegetation.
Beginning with the summer solstice came a time of mourning in the Ancient Near East, as in the Aegean: the Babylonians marked the decline in daylight hours and the onset of killing summer heat and drought with a six-day “funeral” for the god.
Today several versions of the Sumerian death of Dumuzi have been recovered, “Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld”, “Dumuzi’s dream” and “Dumuzi and thegalla”, as well as a tablet separately recounting Dumuzi’s death, mourned by holy Inanna, and his noble sister Geštinanna, and even his dog and the lambs and kids in his fold; Dumuzi himself is weeping at the hard fate in store for him, after he had walked among men, and the cruel galla of the Underworld seize him.
It is quite possible that among other Judeans the Tammuz cult was not regarded as inconsistent with Yahwism. Some mythologists insist that the Adonis shrine is the very same one as the Christians revere, that instead of originating with Jesus and Christianity, the shrine began with the cult of Adonis, a deity of rebirth and vegetation.
They say that the holy cave was consecrated by the heathens to the worship of Adonis and that it was the Christians who took over this pagan centre giving a precedent later for the many early churches in Europe and America being built on the sites of pagan temples.
Indeed, the actual existence of Adonis worship in Bethlehem cannot be disputed it is just a matter of when it took place – before or after the birth of Jesus. Yet the fact that the Church of the Nativity, the oldest continuously used Christian place of worship in the world, covers the site of a former temple to Adonis is seldom mentioned.
According to some scholars, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is built over a cave that was originally a shrine to Adonis-Tammuz. The Church Father Jerome, who died in Bethlehem in 420, reports in addition that the holy cave was at one point consecrated by the heathen to the worship of Adonis, and a pleasant sacred grove planted before it, to wipe out the memory of Jesus.
Some modern mythologists, however, reverse the supposition, insisting that the cult of Adonis-Tammuz originated the shrine and that it was the Christians who took it over, substituting the worship of their own God.
The church’s importance is because as well as safeguarding the alleged birthplace of Jesus it is the sole major church now in the Holy Land that survives intact from the early Christian period. This ancient basilica was built by Empress Helena, the devout mother of Emperor Constantine after she travelled from Rome and started turning this eastern corner of the Mediterranean into the Holy Land.
Inara is the daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt and Hebat, the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living” and “Queen of the deities”. Hannahannah (from Hittite hanna- “grandmother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess, also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat and the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna.
In the Hurrian language Hepa is the most likely pronunciation of the name of the goddess. In modern literature the sound /h/ in cuneiform sometimes is transliterated as kh. During Aramaean times Hebat also appears to have become identified with the goddess Hawwah, or Eve.
Hebat is married to Teshub and is the mother of Sarruma and Alanzu, as well mother-in-law of the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka. The mother goddess is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”), Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity.
Cybele was an originally Anatolian mother goddess; she has a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük, where the statue of a pregnant, seated goddess was found in a granary dated to the 6th millennium BCE. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BCE.
In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, her Minoan equivalent Rhea, and the Harvest-Mother goddess Demeter. Uniquely in Greek religion, she had a transgender or eunuch mendicant priesthood. Many of her Greek cults included rites to a divine Phrygian castrate shepherd-consort Attis.
In Greece she was associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions. Some city-states, notably Athens, evoked her as a protector, but her most celebrated Greek rites and processions show her as an essentially foreign, exotic mystery-goddess who arrives in a lion-drawn chariot to the accompaniment of wild music, wine, and a disorderly, ecstatic following.
Telipinu (Cuneiform: dTe(-e)-li-pí-nu(-ú), Hattic: Talipinu or Talapinu, “Exalted Son”) was a Hittite god who most likely served as a patron of farming, though he has also been suggested to have been a storm god or an embodiment of crops. He was a son of the weather god Teššub and the solar goddess Arinniti according to their mythology.
His wife was the goddess Hatepuna, though he was also paired with Šepuru and Kašḫa at various cultic centres. Her Name originates in Hattic ha, “sea”, and puna, “child”. She is the daughter of the sea god and becomes the wife of Telipinu because of the rescue of Istanu. Hannahannah recommends to the Storm-god that he should pay the Sea-god the bride-price for the Sea-god’s daughter, so she can wed Telipinu.
Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known as Tiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.
The Hittite sun goddess Arinniti was later assimilated with Hebat. A prayer of Queen Puduhepa makes this explicit: “To the Sun-goddess of Arinna, my lady, the mistress of the Hatti lands, the queen of Heaven and Earth. Sun-goddess of Arinna, thou art Queen of all countries! In the Hatti country thou bearest the name of the Sun-goddess of Arinna; but in the land which thou madest the cedar land thou bearest the name Hebat.”
Telipinu was honored every nine years with an extravagant festival in the autumn at Ḫanḫana and Kašḫa, wherein 1000 sheep and 50 oxen were sacrificed and the symbol of the god, an oak tree, was replanted.
The Telipinu Myth is an ancient Hittite myth about Telipinu, whose disappearance causes all fertility to fail, both plant and animal. In order to stop the havoc and devastation, the gods seek Telipinu but fail to find him. His father, the Storm-god Tarhunt (also called Teshub), complains to Hannahannah. She then sends him out to search for his son, and when he gives up, she dispatches a bee, charging it to find Telepinu.
The bee finds Telepinu, and then purifies and strengthens him by stinging his hands and feet and wiping his eyes and feet with wax. When the bee does that the god grew angry and began to wreak destruction on the world. Finally, Kamrušepa, goddess of magic, calmed Telipinu by giving his anger to the Doorkeeper of the Underworld, from which nothing escapes.
In Mesopotamian religion, Tiamat is a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the god of fresh water) to produce younger gods. She is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation, depicted as a woman. She represents the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon.
It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is a creator goddess, through a “Sacred marriage” between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second “Chaoskampf” Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos.
In the Enûma Elish, the Babylonian epic of creation, she gives birth to the first generation of deities; her husband, Apsu, (correctly) assuming they are planning to kill him and usurp his throne, later makes war upon them and is killed. Enraged, she, too, wars upon her husband’s murderers, taking on the form of a massive sea dragon.
Tiamat is then slain by Enki’s son, the storm-god Marduk, but not before she had brought forth the monsters of the Mesopotamian pantheon, including the first dragons, whose bodies she filled with “poison instead of blood”. Marduk then forms heavens and the earth from her divided body.
Akitu (lit. “the barley-cutting”, akiti-šununum, lit. “barley-sowing”; Akkadian: akitu orrêš-šattim, “head of the year”) was a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia, which has played a pivotal role in the development of theories of religion, myth and ritual.
The name is from the Sumerian for “barley”, originally marking two festivals celebrating the beginning of each of the two half-years of the Sumerian calendar, marking the sowing of barley in autumn and the cutting of barley in spring. In Babylonian religion it came to be dedicated to Marduk’s victory over Tiamat.
The corresponding festival is the Purulli festival, a Hattian spring festival held at Nerik dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, who is married to a new king. The central ritual of the festival is dedicated to the destruction of the dragon Illuyanka by the storm god Teshub.
Illuyanka is probably a compound, consisting of two words for “snake”, Proto-Indo-European *hillu- and *heng(w)eh-. The same compound members, inverted, appear in Latin anguilla “eel”. The *hillu- word is cognate to English eel, the anka- word to Sanskrit ahi. Also this dragon is known as Illujanka and Illuyankas.
In the first version of the myth, the two gods fight and Illuyanka wins. Teshub then goes to the Hattian goddess Inaras for advice. He asks Inara to give a feast, most probably the Purulli festival. Inara decides to use the feast to lure and defeat Illuyanka, who was her father’s archenemy.
After Inara consulted with Hannahannah, she gave her a man and land. Inara enlists the aid of a mortal named Hupasiyas of Zigaratta by becoming his lover. Having promised her love to a mortal in return for his help, she devises a trap for the dragon. She goes to him with large quantities of food and drink, and entices him to drink his fill.
The dragon and his family gorge themselves on the fare at the feast, becoming quite drunk, which allows Hupasiyas to tie a rope around them. Inara’s father can then kill Illuyanka, thereby preserving creation.
Inara built a house on a cliff and gave it to Hupasiyas. She left one day with instructions that he was not to look out the window, as he might see his family. But he looked and the sight of his family made him beg to be allowed to return home. It is not known what happened next, but there is speculation that Inara killed Hupasiyas for disobeying her, or for hubris, or that he was allowed to return to his family.
Inara then disappears. Soon after Inara is missing, and when Hannahannah is informed thereof by the Storm-god’s bee, she apparently begins a search with the help of her female attendant. Her father looks for her, joined by Hannahannah with a bee.
Apparently like Demeter, Hannahanna disappears for a while in a fit of anger and while she is gone, cattle and sheep are stifled and mothers, both human and animal take no account of their children. After her anger is banished to the Dark Earth, she returns rejoicing, and mothers care once again for their kin.
The story of Hannahanna and Inara resembles that of the harvest goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, also called Kore or Cora (“the maiden”), in Greek myth.
In the second version, after the two gods fight and Teshub loses, Illuyanka takes Teshub’s eyes and heart. To avenge himself upon the dragon he marries the goddess Hebat, daughter of a mortal named Arm. They have a son, Sarruma, who grows up and marries the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka.
Teshub tells his son to ask for the return of his eyes and heart as a wedding gift, and he does so. His eyes and heart restored, Teshub goes to face the dragon Illuyanka once more. At the point of vanquishing the dragon, Sarruma finds out about the battle and realizes that he had been used for this purpose. He demands that his father take his life along with Illuyanka’s, and so Teshub kills them both with thundery rain and lightning.
The Hittite texts were introduced in 1930 by W. Porzig, who first made the comparison of Teshub’s battle with Illuyankas with the sky-god Zeus’ battle with serpent-like Typhon, told in Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke (I.6.3).
Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women.
Artemis was often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later times she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.
Some scholars believe that the name, and indeed the goddess herself, was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: “Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals”.
Her Roman equivalent is Diana, the goddess of the hunt, the moon and childbirth, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. As with Artemis, Diana was born with her twin brother Apollo on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter/Zeus and Latona/Leto.
In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, the ancient Titaness who personified the moon. She is the sister of Asteria, and the mother of Apollo and Artemis. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus.
Classical Greek myths record little about Leto other than her pregnancy and her search for a place where she could give birth to Apollo and Artemis, since Hera in her jealousy had caused all lands to shun her. Finally, she finds an island that is not attached to the ocean floor so it is not considered land and she can give birth.
This is her one active mythic role: once Apollo and Artemis are grown, Leto withdraws, to remain a dim and benevolent matronly figure upon Olympus, her part already played. In Roman mythology, Leto’s equivalent is Latona, a Latinization of her name, influenced by Etruscan Letun.
Leto’s primal nature may be deduced from the natures of her father and mother, who may have been Titans of the sun and moon. Her Titan father is called Coeus (“query, questioning”), in one Roman source given the name Polus, which may relate him to the sphere of heaven from pole to pole, the embodiment of the celestial axis around which the heavens revolve, while the name of Leto’s mother, Phoebe (lit. “pure, bright”), is identical to the epithet of her son Apollo throughout Homer. The etymology of Coeus’ name provided several scholars the theory that Coeus was also the Titan god of intellect, who represented the inquisitive mind.
Given that Phoebe symbolized prophetic wisdom just as Coeus represented rational intelligence, the couple may have possibly functioned together as the primal font of all knowledge in the cosmos. Along with the other Titans, Coeus was overthrown by Zeus and the other Olympians in the Titanomachy. Afterwards, he and all his brothers were imprisoned in Tartarus by Zeus.
Coeus, later overcome with madness, broke free from his bonds and attempted to escape his imprisonment, but was repelled by Cerberus, often called the “hound of Hades”, is a monstrous multi-headed dog, who guards the gates of the underworld, preventing the dead from leaving.
Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses — along with Minerva and Vesta — who swore never to marry. Oak groves were especially sacred to her.
Diana had a shrine in Rome on the Aventine hill, according to tradition dedicated by king Servius Tullius, himself born a slave. Its location is remarkable as the Aventine is situated outside the pomerium, i.e. original territory of the city, in order to comply with the tradition that Diana was a goddess common to all Latins and not exclusively of the Romans.
Being placed on the Aventine, and thus outside the pomerium, meant that Diana’s cult essentially remained a foreign one, like that of Bacchus; she was never officially transferred to Rome as Juno was after the sack of Veii.
Diana was regarded with great reverence and was a patroness of lower-class citizens, called plebeians, and slaves; slaves could receive asylum in her temples. This fact is of difficult interpretation. Georg Wissowa proposed the explanation that it might be because the first slaves of the Romans must have been Latins of the neighbouring tribes. However, in Ephesus too there was the same custom of the asylum.
Diana was initially just the hunting goddess, associated with wild animals and woodlands. She also later became a moon goddess, supplanting Titan goddess Luna. She also became the goddess of childbirth and ruled over the countryside. Catullus wrote a poem to Diana in which she has more than one alias: Latonia, Lucina, Iuno, Trivia, Luna.
The Arcadians believed Artemis was the daughter of Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death.
Her cult titles include Sito, “she of the Grain”, as the giver of food or grain, and Thesmophoros (thesmos: divine order, unwritten law, phoros: bringer, bearer), “Law-Bringer,” as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.
She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon. In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of circa 1400–1200 BC found at Pylos, the “two mistresses and the king” may be related with Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon.
Her Roman equivalent is Ceres, a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, although Triptolemus was the god of farming whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.
Ceres was originally the central deity in Rome’s so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad, and was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as “the Greek rites of Ceres”.
Her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ludi Ceriales (Ceres’ games). She was also honored in the May lustratio of the fields at the Ambarvalia festival, at harvest-time, and during Roman marriages and funeral rites.
Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, and is the queen of the underworld. In Roman mythology, she is called Proserpina, and her mother, Ceres. Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus, usually in orphic tradition.
In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed, often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the act of being carried off by Hades, representing the dying and regeneration of nature which is mentioned by Hesiod and appears in many ancient agricultural societies.
The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion.
John Chadwick speculatively relates the name of Persephone with the name of Perse, daughter of Oceanus, a divine figure in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the divine personification of the sea, an enormous river encircling the world.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Persephone is daughter of Minyas and mother of Chloris. In that regard the myth of the abduction of the vegetation goddess from Hades and her return can be related with the Minyans, the first inhabitants of Boeotia.
Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic princess of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead. Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld.
The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.
Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon and promised the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death.
The epithets of Persephone reveal her double function as chthonic and vegetation goddess. Her common name as a vegetation goddess is Kore and in Arcadia she was worshipped under the title Despoina “the mistress”, a very old chthonic divinity.
The surnames given to her by the poets refer to her character as Queen of the lower world and the dead, or her symbolic meaning of the power that shoots forth and withdraws into the earth.
Plutarch identifies her with spring and Cicero calls her the seed of the fruits of the fields. In the Eleusinian mysteries her return is the symbol of immortality and hence she was frequently represented on sarcophagi.
In the mystical theories of the Orphics and the Platonists, Kore is described as the all-pervading goddess of nature who both produces and destroys everything and she is therefore mentioned along or identified with other mystic divinities such as Isis, Rhea, Ge, Hestia, Pandora, Artemis, and Hecate.
Proserpina or Proserpine is an ancient Roman goddess whose cult, myths and mysteries were based on those of Greek Persephone and her mother Demeter. Just as Persephone was thought to be a daughter of Demeter, Romans made Proserpina a daughter of Demeter’s Roman equivalent, Ceres.
The Romans identified Proserpina with their native fertility goddess Libera, daughter of the grain and agriculture goddess Ceres and wife to Liber. In 204 BC, a new “greek-style” cult to Ceres and Proserpina as “Mother and Maiden” was imported from southern Italy, along with Greek priestesses to serve it, and was installed in Ceres’ Temple on Rome’s Aventine Hill.
The new cult and its priesthood were actively promoted by Rome’s religious authorities as morally desirable for respectable Roman women, and may have partly subsumed the temple’s older, native cult to Ceres, Liber and Libera; but the new rites seems to have functioned alongside the old, rather than replaced them.
Like Persephone, Proserpina is associated with the underworld realm and its ruler; and along with her mother Ceres, with the springtime growth of crops and the cycle of life, death and rebirth or renewal. Her name is a Latinisation of “Persephone”, perhaps influenced by the Latin proserpere (“to emerge, to creep forth”), with respect to the growing of grain.
Her core myths – her forcible abduction by the god of the Underworld, her mother’s search for her and her eventual but temporary restoration to the world above – are the subject of works in Roman and later art and literature. In particular, Proserpina’s seizure by the god of the Underworld – usually described as the Rape of Proserpina, or of Persephone – has offered dramatic subject matter for Renaissance and later sculptors and painters.
“Hades” can mean both the hidden Underworld and its king (“The hidden one”), who in early Greek versions of the myth is a dark, unsympathetic figure; Persephone is “Kore” (“The Maiden”), taken against her will; in the Greek Eleusinian Mysteries, her captor is known as Pluto; they form a divine couple who rule the underworld together, and receive Eleusinian initiates into some form of better afterlife. Renamed thus, the king of the underworld is distanced from his consort’s violent abduction.
Nergal was also the deity who presides over the netherworld, and who stands at the head of the special pantheon assigned to the government of the dead (supposed to be gathered in a large subterranean cave known as Aralu or Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld).
In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal (D.EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”), though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.
Sometimes Ereshkigal is given the name Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal (lit. “Great Lady of the Earth” or “Lady of the Great Earth”).
As Hel (Old Norse Hel, “Hidden”), a giantess and goddess in Norse mythology who rules over Helheim, the underworld where the dead dwell, she was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom.
Scholarly theories have been proposed about Hel’s potential connections to figures appearing in the 11th century Old English Gospel of Nicodemus and Old Norse Bartholomeus saga postola, that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali.
Bhavani is a ferocious aspect of the Hindu goddess Parvati, the Hindu goddess of fertility, love and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power. Bhavani means “giver of life”, the power of nature or the source of creative energy. In addition to her ferocious aspect, she is also known as Karunaswaroopini, “filled with mercy”.
Parvati, the wife of the Hindu god Shiva – the destroyer, recycler and regenerator of universe and all life, is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the Hindu goddess Shakti and one of the central deities of the Goddess-oriented Shakta sect.
Parvati is the mother goddess in Hinduism and has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu stories of India.
Parvati, or in her demon-fighting aspect, Durga, is the goddess of power, love, and spiritual fulfillment, as well as consort of Śhiva, the destroyer or transformer. She also represents the transformational power of divinity, the power that dissolves the multiplicity of the Hindu gods into their unity.
Durga (“Invincible”) is the principal form of the Goddess, also known as Devi and Shakti in Hinduism. Durga the mahashakti, the form and formless, is the root cause of creation, preservation and annihilation.
According to legend, Durga manifested herself for the slaying of the buffalo demon Mahisasura from Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the lesser gods, who were otherwise powerless to overcome him.
She is pure Shakti, having manifested herself within the gods so that she may fulfill the tasks of the universe via them. At times of distress, such as the mahishasura episode, to protect the universe she manifests herself via the gods.
Along with Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and prosperity) and Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and learning), Parvati (Durga or Mahakali) forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses (Tridevi), a concept in Hinduism joining the three consorts of theTrimurti, or the Great Trinity.
Saraswati is the goddess of learning, arts, and cultural fulfillment, as well as consort of Brahmā, the creator. She is cosmic intelligence, cosmic consciousness, and cosmic knowledge.
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fertility, and material fulfillment, as well as consort of Vishnu, the maintainer or preserver. However, Lakshmi does not signify mere material wealth, but also abstract prosperity, such as glory, magnificence, joy, exaltation, and greatness.
With Shiva, Parvati is a central deity in the Shaiva sect. In Hindu belief, she is the recreative energy and power of Shiva, and she is the cause of a bond that connects all beings and a means of their spiritual release. In Hindu temples dedicated to her and Shiva, she is symbolically represented as the argha or yoni.
Shakti (“to be able”), meaning “power” or “empowerment,” is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe. In Shaktism and Shaivism, Shakti is worshipped as the Supreme Being. Shakti embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva and is identified as Tripura Sundari or Parvati.
Kālī is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, or shakti. She is the mighty aspect of the goddess Durga. The name of Kali means black one and force of time, she is therefore called the Goddess of Time, Change, Power, Creation, Preservation, and Destruction. Her earliest appearance is that of a destroyer principally of evil forces.
Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman; and recent devotional movements re-imagine Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess.
She is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her. Kali is worshipped by Hindus throughout India but particularly South India, Bengal, and Assam.
Mahakali (literally translated as “Great Kali”) is etymologically the feminized variant of Mahakala (“Great Time”), which is interpreted also as Death, an epithet of the God Shiva in Hinduism.
Mahakali is the Hindu Goddess of time and death, considered to be the consort of Shiva the God of consciousness, and the basis of Reality and existence. According to the Markendeya Purana she is an aspect of the goddess Durga.
Mahakali is the form of the Goddess Durga (Parvati) beyond time, Kali, who is the force of the anger of Durga and is an aspect of Durga or Adi parashakti, and therefore her color is black. She is believed to be the greatest aspect of Kali whom many Hindus hold as a Divine Mother.
Shiva (Śiva, meaning “The Auspicious One”, also known as Mahadeva (“Great God”), is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. According to Hindu mythology, Shiva is in the form of Vishnu and Brahma yet one with them. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition, and “the Transformer”. Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam.
Some authors associate the name with the Tamil word śivappu meaning “red”, noting that Shiva is linked to the Sun (śivan, “the Red one”, in Tamil) and that Rudra is also called Babhru (brown, or red) in the Rigveda.
Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle.
Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.
In Hellenistic times, especially during the 3rd century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, Titan god of the sun, and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene, Titan goddess of the moon.
In Latin texts, on the other hand, Joseph Fontenrose declared himself unable to find any conflation of Apollo with Sol. Apollo and Helios/Sol remained separate beings in literary and mythological texts until the 3rd century CE.
In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars)—hence the current name of the planet.
Shivini or Artinis (the present form of the name is Artin, meaning “sun rising” or to “awake”, and persists in Armenian names to this day) was a solar god in the mythology of the Urartu. He is the third god in a triad with Khaldi and Theispas. The Assyrian god Shamash is a counterpart to Shivini. He was depicted as a man on his knees, holding up a solar disc.
Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known asTiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.
Týr is a god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziuand Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is Tius or Tio. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.
The goddess Ishtar refers to Ereshkigal as her older sister in the Sumerian hymn “The Descent of Inanna”, which was also in later Babylonian myth, also called “The Descent of Ishtar”. As with Hel, Inanna/Ishtar’s trip and return to the underworld is the most familiar of the myths concerning Ereshkigal.
Trivia in Roman mythology was an underworld Titan-goddess who assisted Jove in the Titanomachy and was therefore able to keep her powers. Her association for Romans of the first century BCE with Artemis was so thorough that Lucretius identifies the altar of the goddess at the sacrifice of Iphianassa (Iphigeneia) in Aulis as Triviai virginis aram.
She was a friend of Ceres and helped her to find her daughter Proserpina, but although she helped Ceres to find her daughter, she was also known to steal young maidens to assist her in her powers. These women later became nymphs.
Trivia “haunted crossroads, graveyards, and was the goddess of sorcery and witchcraft, she wandered about at night and was seen only by the barking of dogs who told of her approach.” As a part of her role as an underworld goddess, she was known as ”the Queen of Ghosts”.
She was the equivalent of the Greek goddess Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, the three-way crossroads and the harvest moon. Christopher Siren reports that Hannahannah is associated with the Gulses. In Hurrian mythology, the Hutena are goddesses of fate. They are similar to the Norns of Norse mythology or the Moirai of ancient Greece.
Hecate was generally represented as three-formed, which probably has some connection with the appearance of the full moon, half moon, and new moon. Triple Hecate was the goddess of the moon with three forms: Selene the Moon in heaven, Artemis the Huntress on earth, and Persephone the Destroyer in the underworld.
Hecate is a goddess in religion and mythology most often shown holding two torches or a key and in later periods depicted in triple form. She was variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, dogs, light, the moon, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery.
In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Hecate is called the “tender-hearted”, a euphemism perhaps intended to emphasize her concern with the disappearance of Persephone, when she assisted Demeter with her search for Persephone following her abduction by Hades, suggesting that Demeter should speak to the god of the sun, Helios.
Subsequently she became Persephone’s companion on her yearly journey to and from the realms of Hades; serving as a psychopomp. Because of this association, Hecate was one of the chief goddesses of the Eleusinian Mysteries, alongside Demeter and Persephone.
In the post-Christian writings of the Chaldean Oracles (2nd–3rd century CE) she was regarded with (some) rulership over earth, sea and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul.
She was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family. Hesiod emphasizes that Hecate was an only child, the daughter of Perses and Asteria, a star-goddess who was the sister of Leto, the mother of Artemis and Apollo. Grandmother of the three cousins was Phoebe.
The etymology of the name Hecate (Ἑκάτη, Hekátē) is not known. Suggested derivations include a derivate from the Greek word for ‘will’, a derivate from Hekatos, an obscure epithet of Apollo, also translated as “she that operates from afar”, “she that removes or drives off”, “the far reaching one” or “the far-darter”, and the name of the Egyptian goddess of childbirth, Heqet.
Heqet is a frog-goddess who represented fertility often referred to as the wife of Khnum, thought to be the creator of the bodies of human children, which he made at a potter’s wheel, from clay, and placed in their mothers’ wombs.
In the myth of Osiris developed, it was said that it was Heqet who breathed life into the new body of Horus at birth, as she was the goddess of the last moments of birth. As the birth of Horus became more intimately associated with the resurrection of Osiris, so Heqet’s role became one more closely associated with resurrection. Eventually, this association led to her amulets gaining the phrase I am the resurrection in the Christian era along with cross and lamb symbolism.