Zarpanitu


Zarpanitu(m) is the birth goddess, Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian). She was the consort of Marduk whose marriage was celebrated annually in Babylon. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 295

Utu

 


Utu was a sun god, Mesopotamian (Sumerian) [Iraq); worshipped from about 3500 BC to 1750 BC and his cult center was Sippar. This deity was the power of sunlight and, in a social context, of justice and the implementation of law. He was the son of the moon god Nanna and the goddess Ninlil; his brother and sister were Iskur and Inanna. It is said that he rises “in the mountains of the east” and sets “in the mountains of the west.” He is usually depicted as wearing a horned helmet and carrying a saw edged weapon not unlike a pruning saw, which it was thought that he has used to cut through the side of the mountain from which he emerges, symbolizing the dawn. He may also carry a mace and stand with one foot on the mountain. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 274

Uras

 


Uras, Mesopotamian (Sumerian), was a chthonic earth goddess. She was one of the consorts of the sky god An and mother of Nin’insima. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 273

Tiamat

Tiamat Goddess, creation story, dragon


Who is

Tiamat, Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian), was a Babylonian sea-dragon, presumably originating from the Sumerian monster Labbu begot and killed by Enlil. The Enuma Elishdescribes the events in the universe prior to the creation of a new world order by Marduk. Initially there were the mingled waters of Abzu, the abyss of sweet water, Tiamat, the salt-water ocean, and Mammu, the mists hovering over their surfaces. Abzu and Tiamat were the parents of the first gods, Lahmu and Lahamu; their children were Ansar and Kisar, and grandchildren Enu and Ea. All the commotion made by the young deities greatly annoyed Abzu and Tiamat, who upon the advice of Mammu, decided to destroy them. When Ea learned of their plot, he used his magical powers to thwart it, and perhaps even killed Abzu. The final deliverance, however, was achieved through the son of Ea, Marduk.




 

 

Creation Story

According to legend before this deliverance occurred a cosmic war evolved. Timat was sadden by Abzu’s death, and greatly angered. The news reached the other gods that she was making fearsome war preparations which at first dismayed them. Along with her second husband Kingu, and an army of dragon and serpent forms, Tiamat, mother of the gods, aimed at universal destruction. Chaos gripped the world. In an attempt to counteract Tiamat’s terrible threat, Anser proposed that Marduk be appointed divine champion and armed with ‘matchless weapons’ for the terrible battle. This was agreed upon as well as Marduk’s insistence that he be acknowledged first among the gods. With bow and trident, club and net, and an amoury of winds he rode his chariot into the fray. When Tiamat opened her jaws to swallow him Marduk launched a mighty wind right into her mouth, so she could not close it, shot an arrow into her stomach and slew her. He took her followers captive, and fastened upon his own breast the tablets of destiny-the wedding gift of Tiamat to Kingu. Then he sliced her carcass in two halves; out of one he made heaven, from the other he formed earth. On the earth, he formed humankind from the blood of Kingu before returning to his temple in Babylon.

In another version of this legend Tiamat is depicted as a primordial, creation sea-goddess being the power of the ocean waters who begets eleven monsters. She becomes enraged by the death of her first husband now called Apsu, the underground sweet water, is killed by Enki who cooperated with the gods under the leadership of Marduk. In this version Tiamat is reported to have created an exact replica of Apsu, the Esarra. The cosmic battle also is waged and Marduk defeats Tiamat. He then splits her in two, one half becomes the vault of heaven; her eyes become the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates with mountains rising over her head.

Others imagined Tiamat as possibly being a composite creature, part animal, part serpent, part bird, revolting in appearance, and dreadful in anger. She was evil: a she-dragon. They claimed she lost all attributes of a mother goddess. This West African myth of the dragon is at odds with the creation order, found in its fullest in the conflict between Marduk and Tiamat.

 

 

Satan

Some think Tiamat is a prototype of Satan. In this instance one might speculate that those thinking this might be over influenced by a Christian background. This comment emerges because of another ending of this myth: This is a paradoxical creation myth, even though the chaos-monster was slain and dismembered she remained the body of the universe and was manifest through her children, the gods and goddesses from whom Bel-Marduk received homage. Within this ending there occurs a transformation of evil to good; Tiamat is not entirely stripped of her good attributes, but rather they come out in her children. Perhaps this is why by some Marduk is considered a lord of magic.

In an evolutionary view of Tiamat those who favor the archetypal Satanic view of this primordial deity may be more correct. Initially her furor began with the murder of Apsu and grew fueled by the desire for revenge. Since she was a creator sea-dragon her surviving attributes would be inherited by her children and their children. Even though the deities paid homage to Marduk after he defeated her in their cosmic battle, the future generations might not give him and his successors such homage. The survival instinct of their paternal grandmother resides within them. Coupled with this is the belief that the blood of her second Kingu was used in creating humanity. Therefore her survival characteristics also survive in humanity and will naturally keep reappearing. This has been seen in Lilith and her children including Kali and Hecate. Such children through succubi and incubi copulated with mankind, generating those of ‘true’ free will and self-determination and self-control; those dancing to their own music, rebels. A.G.H.


Sources:

Cotterell, Arthur, A Dictionary of World Mythology, New York, G. P. Putman’s Sons, 1980. pp. 51-52
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, pp. 260-261

Tasmetu

 


Tasmentu(m) goddess, Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian)., is the consort of the god NabuA.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 252

Tammaz

 


Tammaz, Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian), is equated to Adonis. He was the consort and brother of Ishtar, as the Sumerian god Dumuzi and consort of Inanna. When she descended into the neither world she was a hostile and threatening figure which even made Ereskigal’s face blanched upon her approach. Isthar, when there, was overcome by death which resulted in the depletion of the springs of fertility on earth. Ea secured her release by means of a brilliant eunuch which captivated the heart of the mistress of infertility and death.

The cult of Tammaz was a major one including the annual event, presumably in the fall, of what was known as ‘Ishtar’s wailing for Tammaz.’ The event commemorated death, marriage, and resurrection which was deeply associated with the agricultural fertility cycle. Some say that one phrase of these annual ceremonies included the marriage of the king to the goddess who was substituted by a priestess. Also women of the cult wailed for Tammaz near the temple when the cult spread to Cannan which the prophet Ezekiel preached defiantly against (Ezek. 8:14). A.G.H.


Sources:

Cotterell, Arthur, ‘Isthar.’ A Dictionary of World Mythology, New York, G. P. Putman’s Sons, 1980, p. 36
Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, pp. 1069-1070

Tanit

 


Tanit, also Tenit, a Phoenician and Pontic (Carthaginian) moon goddess, who was known largely from various inscriptions found along the North African coast and associated with the goddess Astarte. Her symbol is the triangular device with horizontal bars supporting a moon disc. Both deities are described as “ladies of the sanctuary.” Tanit was the the supreme goddess of Carthage, known as the “face of Baal,” until she was usurped by the Roman goddess Juno, and survived as the goddess Caelestis who also was worshipped in the Carthaginian temple. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 251

Ninurta

 


Ninurta, lord plough, Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian) [Iraq], is god of thunderstorms and the plough. He was worshipped from around 3500 BC to 200 BC and probably synonymous with Ningirsu having cult centers at Nippur and Girsu, where he was adored in later form. Ninurta was the Sumerian god of the farmers and identified with the plough. Also being the god of thunder and a hero in the Sumerian pantheon he was closely linked with confrontation battles between good and evil which comprise much of Mesopotamian literature. He is one of the several challengers of the malignant dragon or serpent Kur said to inhabit the empty space between the earth’s crust and the primeval sea beneath.

This deity is the son on Enlil and Ninhursaga, alternatively Ninlil, and the consort of Gula, the goddess of healing. Ninurta is attributed with the creation of the mountains which he is said to have forged against the demon Asag.

He wears a horned helmet and tiered skirt and carries a weapon, Sarur, which became personified in texts as having its own intelligence and becoming the chief adversary, in the hands of Ninurta, when battling Kur. He carries the double-edged scimitar-maze embellished with lions’ heads and, according to some authors, is depicted as a nonhuman form as the thunderbird Imdugud (sling stone), which bears the head of a lion and may represent the hailstones of God. His sanctuary is the E-paduntila.

Ninurta is perceived as a youthful warrior and probably equates with the Babylonian hero god Marduk. His cult involved a journey to Eridu from both Nippur and Girsu. He may be compared to Iskur, who was worshipped mainly by herdsmen as a storm god. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 186-187

Nintu

 


Nintu, mother goddess, Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylonian-Akkadian), broke off, according to legend, fourteen pieces of primordial clay to form the womb deities, seven on the left and seven in the right with a brick between them, who produced the first seven pairs of human embryos. She is closely identified with the goddess Ninhursaga and may have become Belet Ili (mistress of the gods) when, at Enki’s suggestion, the gods slew one of themselves and used his flesh and blood, mixed with clay, to create humankind. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 186

Ninsun

 


Ninsun(a), lady wild cow, Mesopotamian (Sumerian and Babylonian-Akkadian), is the cow goddess, a tutelary goddess of Gudea or Lagas. She was consort of the Sumerian heroic King Lugalbanda and identified as mother of the hero Gilgames. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 186